Fulbrighters play a variety of roles, both during and after their Fulbright experiences. These roles include being students, scholars, teachers, lecturers, researchers, mentors, artists, philanthropists, cultural ambassadors and social entrepreneurs.
There is no doubt that the Fulbright Program upholds a tradition of excellence. By far, the program is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. Past scholars have gone on to become Nobel Laureates, Nobel Prize Winners, successful government leaders, influential academics, industry professionals and much more.
Prominent alumni have gone on to:
• Be elected to US Congress (10)
• Become Head of State or Government (18)
• Become the United Nations Secretary General (1)
• Win a Nobel Prize Winners (44 from 12 different countries)
• Win a Pulitzer Prize (78)
The Fulbright Program’s primary sponsor is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Money is appropriated from U.S. Congress, partner nations and various organizations, corporations and public and private donations in order to send scholars from around the world to promote peace, international awareness and bilateral relationships. Arkansas Senator William J. Fulbright initiated the idea of a scholarship program in 1945 following the Second World War. He proposed that funding would come from the sale of U.S. government war property. In 1946 President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law and stated, “If we do not want to die together in war, we must learn to live together in peace.”
Since the Fulbright’s origination in 1946 there have been over 300,000 scholars from over 150 countries who have been sent to study, teach and conduct research in locations around the world. The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) consists of 12 influential educational and public leaders that are appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama. The board, with the help of Fulbright commissions around the world and the U.S. Embassies are responsible for maintaining the appropriate guidelines and approving all candidates nominated for the Fulbright Scholarship. The Fulbright Programs awards an astonishing 8,000 grants annually to scholars in the fields of fine arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural and physical sciences, and professional and applied sciences.
For more information, visit the Fulbright website to answer more questions in detail. The Fulbright program has upheld a tradition of international awareness through education exchange for 60 years. There is no doubt that this tradition of excellence will continue. Forefather, J. William Fulbright explains it well, “Education exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.”