The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright–Hays Program, is one of several United States Cultural Exchange Programs whose goal is to improve intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and intercultural competence between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. Via the program, competitively-selected American citizens including students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists may receive scholarships or grants to study, conduct research, teach, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States of America. The program was founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is considered to be one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world. The program provides approximately 8,000 grants annually – roughly 1,600 to U.S. students, 1,200 to U.S. scholars, 4,000 to foreign students, 900 to foreign visiting scholars, and several hundred to teachers and professionals.
The Fulbright Program is administered by cooperating organizations such as the Institute of International Education and operates in over 160 countries around the world. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State sponsors the Fulbright Program and receives funding from the United States Congress via annual appropriation bills. Additional direct and in-kind support comes from partner governments, foundations, corporations, and host institutions both in and outside the U.S. In 49 countries, a bi-national Fulbright Commission administers and oversees the Fulbright Program. In countries that have an active program but no Fulbright Commission, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy oversees the Fulbright Program. More than 370,000 people have participated in the program since it began; 59 Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes; 82 have won Pulitzer Prizes.
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.— Senator J. William Fulbright
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 World 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.
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.
Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.— Senator J. William Fulbright
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, Teacher Exchange Program, etc.) and non-U.S. citizens may come to the U.S. (Foreign Student Program, Visiting Scholar Program, Teacher Exchange Program, etc.).
Candidates recommended for Fulbright grants have high academic achievement, a compelling project proposal or statement of purpose, demonstrated leadership potential, and flexibility and adaptability to interact successfully with the host community abroad.
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.
- The Fulbright Degree Program funds graduate education for International Students wanting to study in the USA. Students need to apply for the scholarship from their home country and after a long process, they can pursue a Masters or Ph.D. in the United States.
- The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to research, study, or teach English abroad for one academic year.
- The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to conduct research and study in the United States. Some scholarships are renewed after the initial year of study.
- The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program provides opportunities for young English teachers from overseas to refine their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of American culture and society while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at colleges and universities in the United States.
- The International Fulbright Science and Technology Award, a component of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, supports doctoral study at leading U.S. institutions in science, technology, engineering or related fields for outstanding foreign students. This program is currently on hiatus.
- The Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships award up to four U.S. students the opportunity to study the power of music as a cultural force abroad. Fellows conduct research for one academic year on projects of their own design about a chosen musical aspect. They share their experiences during their Fulbright year via video reports, blogs and podcasts.
- The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship provides the opportunity for U.S. students to serve in professional placements in foreign government ministries or institutions to gain hands-on public sector experience in participating foreign countries.
- The Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards comprise approximately forty distinguished lecturing, distinguished research and distinguished lecturing/research awards ranging from three to 12 months. Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program. Candidates should be eminent scholars and have a significant publication and teaching record.
- The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki brings scholars of various disciplines to Finland. The Bicentennial Chair is open to senior faculty with outstanding publication and teaching credentials and is also considered to be among the most prestigious Fulbright appointments.
- The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American faculty members, scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year.
- The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. academics and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at overseas institutions for a period of two to six weeks.
- The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program and Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program bring foreign scholars to lecture or conduct post-doctoral research for up to a year at U.S. colleges and universities.
- The Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program is a network of junior scholars, professionals and mid-career applied researchers from the United States, Brazil, Canada, and other Western Hemisphere nations in a year-long program that includes multi-disciplinary, team-based research, a series of three seminar meetings, and a Fulbright exchange experience.
- The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program supports one-to-one exchanges of teachers from K–12 schools and a small number of post-secondary institutions.
- The Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program sends teachers abroad for a semester to pursue individual projects, conduct research, and lead master classes or seminars.
Grants for professionals
- The Hubert H. Humphrey Program brings outstanding mid-career professionals from the developing world and societies in transition to the United States for one year. Fellows participate in a non-degree program of academic study and gain professional experience.
- The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year.
- The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at overseas academic institutions for a period of two to six weeks.
- The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year. The Program also includes an English Teaching Assistant component.
- The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to conduct research and study in the United States. Some scholarships are renewed after the initial year of study.
- 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 through 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.
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.
The United States 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.
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.
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: Affiliated with Harvard University LASPAU brings together a valuable network of individuals, institutions, leaders and organizations devoted to building knowledge-based societies across the Americas. Among other functions, LASPAU 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.
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.
Fulbright alumni have occupied key roles in government, academia, and industry. Of the 325,000+ alumni:
- 86 have received the Pulitzer Prize
- 75 have been MacArthur Fellows
- 60 have received a Nobel Prize
- 37 have served as head of state or government
- 10 have been elected to US Congress
- 1 has served as secretary general of the United Nations
The following list is a selected group of notable Fulbright grant recipients:
J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding
The J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, established in 1993, is awarded by the Fulbright Association to recognize individuals or organisations which have made extraordinary contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding of others.
The recipients are listed below.
|Nelson Mandela||1993||South Africa|
|Jimmy Carter||1994||United States|
|Václav Havel||1997||Czech Republic|
|Fernando Henrique Cardoso||2003||Brazil|
|Colin Powell||2004||United States|
|Bill Clinton||2006||United States|
|Desmond Tutu||2008||South Africa|
|Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation||2010||United States|
|Médecins Sans Frontières||2012||France|
|Richard Lugar||2016||United States|
The Fulbright Program has Commissions in 49 of the over 160 countries with which it has bilateral partnerships. These foundations are funded jointly by the U.S. and partner governments. The role of the Fulbright Commissions is to plan and implement educational exchanges; recruit and nominate candidates, both domestic and foreign, for fellowships; designate qualified local educational institutions to host Fulbrighters; and support incoming U.S. Fulbrighters while engaging with alumni. Below is a list of current commissions.
|East Asia and the Pacific||Australia||The Australian-American Fulbright Commission|
|Indonesia||American-Indonesian Exchange Foundation|
|Japan||Japan-United States Educational Commission|
|Korea||Korean-American Educational Commission|
|Malaysia||Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange|
|New Zealand||New Zealand-United States Educational Foundation|
|The Philippines||Philippine-American Educational Foundation|
|Taiwan||Foundation for Scholarly Exchange|
|Thailand||Thailand-U.S. Educational Foundation|
|Europe and Eurasia||Austria||Austrian-American Educational Commission|
|Belgium||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg|
|Bulgaria||Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange|
|Czech Republic||J. William Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange in the Czech Republic|
|Finland||Fulbright Finland Foundation|
|France||Franco-American Commission for Educational Exchange|
|Germany||German-American Fulbright Commission|
|Greece||U.S. Educational Foundation in Greece|
|Hungary||Hungarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange|
|Iceland||Iceland-United States Educational Commission|
|Ireland||The Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange|
|Italy||The U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission|
|Netherlands||Fulbright Commission the Netherlands|
|Norway||U.S.-Norway Fulbright Foundation for Educational Exchange|
|Poland||Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission|
|Portugal||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States of America and Portugal|
|Romania||Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission|
|Slovak Republic||J. William Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange in the Slovak Republic|
|Spain||Commission for Cultural, Educational and Scientific Exchange Between the United States of America and Spain|
|Sweden||Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Sweden|
|Turkey||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States of America and Turkey|
|United Kingdom||The United States-United Kingdom Fulbright Commission|
|Middle East and North Africa||Egypt||The Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt|
|Israel||U.S.-Israel Educational Foundation (USIEF)|
|Jordan||Jordanian-American Commission for Educational Exchange (JACEE)|
|Morocco||Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange|
|South and Central Asia||India||United States-India Educational Foundation|
|Nepal||Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Nepal (USEF/Nepal)|
|Pakistan||United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan|
|Sri Lanka||United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission|
|Western Hemisphere||Argentina||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States and the Argentine Republic|
|Brazil||Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States of America and Brazil|
|Canada||Foundation for Educational Exchange Between Canada and the United States of America|
|Chile||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States of America and Chile|
|Colombia||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States of America and Colombia|
|Ecuador||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States of America and Ecuador|
|Mexico||Mexico-United States Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange|
|Peru||Commission for Educational Exchange Between the United States and Peru|
- Academic mobility
- Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF)
- Chevening Scholarship
- Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation
- Erasmus Programme
- German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)
- Goodwill Scholarships
- Harkness Fellowship
- ITT International Fellowship Program
- Jürgen Mulert
- Marshall Scholarship
- Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- Monbukagakusho Scholarship
- Rhodes Scholarship
- Yenching Scholarship
- Jardine Scholarship
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- U.S. Department of State Fulbright Website, the program's sponsor
- Fulbright–Hays information, U.S. Department of Education
- Fulbright Student Program Homepage
- Fulbright Scholar Program, grants for university and college faculty, administrators and professionals
- Fulbright Teacher Exchange Programs, K–12 Teacher Exchange
- Directories of past grantees