Fulbright Program

"Fulbright" redirects here. For the senator, see J. William Fulbright. For the indie video game developer, see Fullbright (company).

The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is an American scholarship program of 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 American 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 of America. 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. It is one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world.

The Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants annually to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university lecturing, and classroom teaching. In the 2015–16 cycle, 17% and 24% of American applicants were successful in securing research and English Teaching Assistance grants, respectively. However, selectivity and application numbers vary substantially by country and by type of grant. For example, grants were awarded to 30% of Americans applying to teach English in Laos and 50% of applicants to do research in Laos. In contrast, 6% of applicants applying to teach English in Belgium were successful compared to 16% of applicants to do research in Belgium.[1][2]

The Fulbright Program is administered by cooperating organizations like the Institute of International Education. It operates in over 160 countries around the world.[3] 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.[4] In each of 49 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. More than 360,000 persons have participated in the program since it began. Fifty-four Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes;[5] eighty-two have won Pulitzer Prizes.[6]


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.[7]
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 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.[8]

If we do not want to die together in war, we must learn to live together in peace.[9]
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.[8]


2008 conference booth
Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.[10]
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 and/or statement of purpose, demonstrated leadership potential, and flexibility and adaptability to interact successfully with the host community abroad.

Types of grants

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.[11]

Student grants

Scholar grants

Teacher grants

Grants for professionals

Fulbright-Hays Program

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.[13]

Budgetary reductions forced the Department of Education to cancel many Fulbright-Hays Programs for the fiscal year of 2011, which have since been reinstated.[14]


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.[4]

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.[15]

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.[16]

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

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

Fulbright alumni have occupied key roles in government, academia, and industry. Of the 325,000+ alumni:

The following list is a selected group of notable Fulbright grant recipients:[19]

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 who have made extraordinary contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding of others.

Fulbright Prize laureates

Person Year Country
Nelson Mandela 1993  South Africa
Jimmy Carter 1994  United States
Franz Vranitzky 1995  Austria
Corazon Aquino 1996  Philippines
Václav Havel 1997  Czech Republic
Patricio Aylwin 1998  Chile
Mary Robinson 1999  Ireland
Martti Ahtisaari 2000  Finland
Kofi Annan 2001  Ghana
Sadako Ogata 2002  Japan
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
Hans Blix 2014  Sweden

See also


  1. "ETA Grant Application Statistics". us.fulbrightonline.org. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  2. "Study/Research Grant Application Statistics". us.fulbrightonline.org. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  3. "IIE Programs". Institute of International Education. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  4. 1 2 "Fulbright Program Fact Sheet" (PDF). U.S. Department of State.
  5. 1 2 "53 Fulbright Alumni Awarded the Nobel Prize" (PDF). U.S. Department of State.
  6. "Notable Fulbrighters". U.S. Department of State.
  7. "Fulbright Sweden". 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  8. 1 2 "Fulbright: The Early Years". U.S. Department of State.
  9. "Harry S. Truman: Address to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  10. "About Fulbright". U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
  11. "Fields of Study/Project Topics". U.S. Department of State.
  12. 1 2 3 4 "Which Grant Is Right For Me? – Fulbright – International Educational Exchange Program". eca.state.gov. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  13. "Archived: International Education Programs Service – Fulbright-Hays Programs: The World is Our Classroom". .ed.gov. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  14. "Applicant Information – Fulbright-Hays-Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad". .ed.gov. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  15. "Fulbright Commissions". U.S. Department of State.
  16. "History | Who We Are | Institute of International Education". Iie.org. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  17. "Pulitzer Prize Winners | Institute of International Education". Iie.org. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  18. 1 2 3 "Fulbright Scholars | Embassy of the United States La Paz, Bolivia". Bolivia.usembassy.gov. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  19. "Fulbright Alumni Craig R. Barrett, John Hope Franklin, and Shirley Strum Kenny Receive Lifetime Achievement Medals".
  20. Piccinnini, Douglas (2009). "Ashbery in Paris: Out of School". Jacket 2. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  21. "Robert Bly". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  22. "Featured Fulbrighter – Kyle Carey". Fulbright Canada. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  23. "'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.
  24. Klotz, Suzanne. "Fulbright Scholar". Fulbright Scholar Program. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
  25. Juntin Wintle, Makers of modern culture, Routledge 2002.
  26. 1 2 "Fulbrighters & Pulitzer Prize Winners". US Department of State. US Department of State. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  27. Gray, Jeffrey (2005). Mastery's End: Travel and Postwar American Poetry. Athens, GA: UGA Press. p. 145. Retrieved 12 October 2015.

External links

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