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Fulbright Scholarship Program

The Fulbright Program

The flagship Fulbright Program is a U.S.-based program of highly competitive, eligibility-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists to study, conduct research, or exercise their talents outside the U.S. Under the program's aegis eligible citizens of other countries outside the U.S. may qualify to do likewise in the United States. It was founded by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 [47].

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Additional direct and in-kind support is provided by partner governments, foundations, corporations, and host institutions both in and outside the U.S. [48].

The program was established to promote peace and mutual understanding between individuals, institutions, and future leaders, wherever they may be, through the educational exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, and thereby increase the likelihood of nations finally learning to live and coexist in peace and friendship [49]. During their grants, grantees meet, work, live with, and learn from host countries' inhabitants, sharing daily cultural experiences.

The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction between individuals. Through engagement in the community, individuals interact with their hosts in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual cultural understanding.

The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide and is ultimately managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) [47, 48, 50]. On a country by country basis, bi-national Fulbright Commissions administer and oversee the program in 50 countries. In countries that have an active program but lack a Fulbright Commission, the program is overseen and supervised by the Public Affairs Sections of US embassies.

Since its inception, 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. Approximately 325,400 Fulbrighters, 122,800 from the United States and 202,600 from other countries, have participated in the program since its start more than sixty years ago. Approximately 8,000 grants are awarded annually by the program. Currently, the program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. The Congressional appropriation for the Fulbright Program in the fiscal year 2013 was $242.8 million.

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