Fulbright for Latvian Participants
The Fulbright Program, the U.S. Government's international exchange program, was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by former Senator J. William Fulbright. The program is designed "to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries". Under the Fulbright program, grants are awarded to American and foreign nationals to study, teach, lecture and conduct research abroad.
The founder of the program was Senator J. William Fulbright. The culture shock he experienced as a 21-year old Rhodes Scholar in England convinced him that the way to achieve peace in the world was for people of all countries to get to know and respect each other’s traditions, cultures, and values. Senator Fulbright’s idea was simplicity itself. Create a program, with the whole world as its stage, that would simultaneously encourage students from as many countries as possible to study in the United States while persuading young Americans to live in, and come to know and understand, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Western Hemisphere, and the Pacific.
The program was originally financed by the sale of U.S. war surplus property, later also with U.S.-held foreign currencies from the sale of grain abroad, and by funds appropriated by Congress. In the early years, the program largely depended on American enthusiasm; as a new century approaches, it draws its energy from 51 binational Fulbright commissions and educational institutions in every corner of the globe. Today, about 60 percent of the program’s costs are covered by the government of the United States, with the rest coming from educational institutions, more than 40 governments of other nations, and the private sector. Now 21 of 51 partner nations match or exceed U.S. funding.
The term "Fulbright" covers a wide variety of programs: grants for American and foreign graduate students and graduating seniors; research awards for up to a year overseas for American and foreign scholars; lecturer awards; short-term faculty exchanges; efforts to bring public administrators to the United States; and programs to encourage exchanges of teachers and administrators, institutional linkages, the study of foreign languages, and doctoral and faculty research abroad.
Fulbright involves nearly every conceivable discipline in the arts and humanities, commerce and finance, science and technology, education, journalism, media, and government. It counts among its alumni distinguished men and women in every walk of life, at home and abroad. They include poets and presidents, Nobel Laureates and syndicated columnists, artists and business leaders, economists, physicians, actors, playwrights, financiers, and cabinet officials. Whatever the field of study or profession of its recipients, the Fulbright experience has enlarged and deepened the perspective of potential national and international leaders.
Since the beginning of the Fulbright Program in 1946, more than 189.000 foreign nationals have gone to the United States for study, teaching, lecturing or research. More than 101.000 Americans have gone abroad.
In the United States, the Fulbright Program is funded by the U.S. State Department through annual appropriations from the U.S. Congress.
Grants are available to U.S. citizens for post-graduate study, post-doctoral research, and university lecturing in over 140 countries around the world. For non-Americans, grants are also available for similar purposes in the United States.
Information for U.S. Citizens
Overseas, the Fulbright Program is administered by bi-national Fulbright Commissions. In non-Commission countries, the Fulbright Program is administered by the Public Affairs section of the U.S. Embassy.
J. William Fulbright (1905 - 1995)
Senator Fulbright was born on April 9, 1905 in Sumner, Missouri. He was educated at the University of Arkansas where he was awarded the B.A. degree in Political Science in 1925. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he received an M.A. degree.
When Fulbright returned to the United States, he studied law at George Washington University in Washington, DC. During the 1930's, he served in the Justice Department and was an instructor at the George Washington University Law School. In 1936 he returned to Arkansas where he was a lecturer in law and, from 1939 to 1941, president of the University of Arkansas, at the time the youngest university president in the country.
He entered politics in 1942 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, entering Congress in January 1943 and becoming a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In September of that year the House adopted the Fulbright Resolution supporting an international peace-keeping machinery encouraging United States participation in what became the United Nations, and this brought national attention to Fulbright.
In November 1944 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and served there from 1945 through 1974 becoming one of the most influential and best-known members of the Senate. His legislation establishing the Fulbright Program slipped through the Senate without debate in 1946. Its first participants went overseas in 1948, funded by war reparations and foreign loan repayments to the United States. This program has had extraordinary impact around the world. There have been more than 250,000 Fulbright grantees and many of them have made significant contributions within their countries as well as to the overall goal of advancing mutual understanding.
In 1949 Fulbright became a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. From 1959-1974 he served as chairman, the longest serving chairman of that committee in history. His Senate career was marked by some notable cases of dissent. In 1954 he was the only Senator to vote against an appropriation for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which was chaired by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. He also lodged serious objections to President Kennedy in advance of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
He was particularly in the spotlight as a powerful voice in the chaotic times of the war in Vietnam, when he chaired the Senate hearings on United States policy and the conduct of the war. In 1963 Walter Lippman wrote of Fulbright: "The role he plays in Washington is an indispensable role. There is no one else who is so powerful and also so wise, and if there were any question of removing him from public life, it would be a national calamity."