Fulbright Program

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The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of highly competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the Fulbright Program, competitively selected U.S. citizens may become eligible for scholarships to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States.

The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, operating in over 155 countries.[1] Fifty-three Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes;[2] seventy-eight have won Pulitzer Prizes.[2] More Nobel laureates are former Fulbright recipients than any other award program.[citation needed]

The program was established to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.

The Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants annually to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university lecturing, and classroom teaching. As of 2013, more than 325,400 persons—122,800 from the United States and 202,600 from other countries—have participated in the program since it began.

The Fulbright Program is managed by the Institute of International Education and operates in over 155 countries around the world.[3] In each of 50 countries, a bi-national Fulbright Commission administers and oversees the Fulbright Program. In countries without a Fulbright Commission but that have an active program, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy oversees the Fulbright Program.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Fulbright Program from an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress. Additional direct and in-kind support comes from partner governments, foundations, corporations, and host institutions both in and outside the U.S.[1]


The Fulbright Program aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs and thereby increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship.[4]

In 1945, Senator J. William Fulbright proposed a bill to use the proceeds from selling surplus U.S. government war property to fund international exchange between the U.S. and other countries. With the crucial timing of the aftermath of the Second War and with the pressing establishment of the United Nations, the Fulbright Program was an attempt to promote peace and understanding through educational exchange. The bill devised a plan to forgo the debts foreign countries amassed during the war and in return for funding an international educational program. It was through the belief that this program would be an essential vehicle to promote peace and mutual understanding between individuals, institutions and future leaders wherever they may be.[5]

If we do not want to die together in war, we must learn to live together in peace.[6]

—President Harry S. Truman

On August 1, 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law, and Congress created the Fulbright Program in what became the largest education exchange program in history.

Since it began, the program has operated on a bi-national basis; each country active in the Fulbright Program has entered into an agreement with the U.S. government. The first countries to sign agreements were China in 1947 and Burma, the Philippines, and Greece in 1948.[5]


2008 conference booth

Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.[7]

The Fulbright Program works two ways: U.S. citizens may receive funding to go to a foreign country (U.S. Student Program, U.S. Scholar Program, and Teacher Exchange Program) and non-U.S. citizens may come to the U.S. (Foreign Student Program, Visiting Scholar Program, Teacher Exchange Program).

Candidates recommended for Fulbright grants have high academic achievement, a compelling project proposal and/or statement of purpose, demonstrated leadership potential, and flexibility and adaptability to interact successfully with the host community abroad.

Types of grants[edit]

Fulbright grants are offered in almost all academic disciplines except clinical medical research involving patient contact. Fulbright grantees' fields of study span the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural and physical sciences, and professional and applied sciences.[8]

Student grants[edit]

Scholar grants[edit]

Teacher grants[edit]

Grants for professionals[edit]

Fulbright-Hays Program[edit]

A portion of the Fulbright Program is a Congressional appropriation to the United States Department of Education for the Fulbright-Hays Program. These grants are awarded to individual U.S. K–14 pre-teachers, teachers and administrators, pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral faculty, as well as to U.S. institutions and organizations. Funding supports research and training efforts overseas, which focus on non-western foreign languages and area studies.[10]

Budgetary reductions forced the Department of Education to cancel many Fulbright-Hays Programs for the fiscal year of 2011, which have since been reinstated.[11]


The program is coordinated by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State under policy guidelines established by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB), with the help of 50 bi-national Fulbright commissions, U.S. embassies, and cooperating organizations in the U.S.[1]

The U.S. Department of State is responsible for managing, coordinating and overseeing the Fulbright program. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the bureau in the Department of State that has primary responsibility for the administration of the program.

The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board is a twelve-member board of educational and public leaders appointed by the President of the United States that determines general policy and direction for the Fulbright Program and approves all candidates nominated for Fulbright Scholarships.

Bi-national Fulbright commissions and foundations, most of which are funded jointly by the U.S. and partner governments, develop priorities for the program, including the numbers and categories of grants. More specifically, they plan and implement educational exchanges, recruit and nominate candidates for fellowships; designate qualified local educational institutions to host Fulbrighters; fundraise; engage alumni; support incoming U.S. Fulbrighters; and, in many countries, operate an information service for the public on educational opportunities in the United States.[12]

In a country active in the program without a Fulbright commission, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy administers the Fulbright Program, including recruiting and nominating candidates for grants to the U.S., overseeing U.S. Fulbrighters on their grant in the country, and engaging alumni.

Established in 1919 in the aftermath of World War I, the Institute of International Education was created to catalyze educational exchange. In 1946, the U.S. Department of State invited IIE to administer the graduate student component and CIES to administer the faculty component of the Fulbright Program—IIE's largest program to date.[13]

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars is a division of IIE that administers the Fulbright Scholar Program.

AMIDEAST administers Fulbright Foreign Student grants for grantees from the Middle East and North Africa (except Israel).

LASPAU: Academic and Professional Programs for the Americas administers the Junior Faculty Development Program, a part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, for grantees from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

American Councils for International Education (ACTR/ACCELS) administers the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP), a special academic exchange for grantees from the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Southeast Europe.

The Academy for Educational Development administers the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program and the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program.

Related organizations[edit]

The Fulbright Association is an organization independent of the Fulbright Program and not associated with the U.S. Department of State. The Fulbright Association was established on Feb. 27, 1977, as a private nonprofit, membership organization with over 9,000 members. The late Arthur Power Dudden was its founding president. He wanted alumni to educate members of the U.S. Congress and the public about the benefits of advancing increased mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. In addition to the Fulbright Association in the U.S., independent Fulbright Alumni associations exist in over 75 countries around the world.

The Fulbright Academy is an organization independent of the Fulbright Program and not associated with the U.S. Department of State. A non-partisan, non-profit organization with members worldwide, the Fulbright Academy focuses on the professional advancement and collaboration needs among the 100,000+ Fulbright alumni in science, technology and related fields. The Fulbright Academy works with individual and institutional members, Fulbright alumni associations and other organizations interested in leveraging the unique knowledge and skills of Fulbright alumni.

Notable alumni[edit]

Fulbright alumni have occupied key roles in government, academia, and industry.

The following list is a selected group of notable Fulbright grant recipients:[2][16]

J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding[edit]

The J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, established in 1993, is awarded by the Fulbright Association to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding of others.

Fulbright Prize laureates include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Fulbright Program Fact Sheet". U.S. Department of State. 
  2. ^ a b c d "53 Fulbright Alumni Awarded the Nobel Prize". U.S. Department of State. 
  3. ^ "IIE Programs". Institute of International Education. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  4. ^ "Fulbright Sweden". 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Fulbright: The Early Years". U.S. Department of State. 
  6. ^ "Harry S. Truman: Address to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  7. ^ "About Fulbright". U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  8. ^ "Fields of Study/Project Topics". U.S. Department of State. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Which Grant Is Right For Me? - Fulbright - International Educational Exchange Program". eca.state.gov. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  10. ^ "Archived: International Education Programs Service - Fulbright-Hays Programs: The World is Our Classroom". .ed.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  11. ^ "Applicant Information - Fulbright-Hays-Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad". .ed.gov. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  12. ^ "Fulbright Commissions". U.S. Department of State. 
  13. ^ "History | Who We Are | Institute of International Education". Iie.org. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  14. ^ a b c "Fulbright Scholars | Embassy of the United States La Paz, Bolivia". Bolivia.usembassy.gov. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  15. ^ "Pulitzer Prize Winners | Institute of International Education". Iie.org. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  16. ^ "Fulbright Alumni Craig R. Barrett, John Hope Franklin, and Shirley Strum Kenny Receive Lifetime Achievement Medals". 
  17. ^ "'New' alumnus wins prestigious Fulbright postgraduate award". New College, University of New South Wales. New College, University of New South Wales. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Juntin Wintle, Makers of modern culture, Routledge 2002.
  19. ^ a b "Fulbrighters & Pulitzer Prize Winners". US Department of State. US Department of State. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Bill and Melinda Gates Reference". Fulbright.org. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 

External links[edit]