Actions, Insights, and Opportunities
Since its inception in 1946, over 400,000 people from all backgrounds—recent graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists, and more—have participated in the Fulbright Program to help them better understand and advance ideas in the world we share.
What impact will you make?
Making Their Mark
Fulbright Alumni have served as heads of state or government.
Fulbright Alumni have received a Nobel Prize.
Fulbright Alumni have received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Fulbright Alumni have been awarded
Connecting a Complex and Changing World
In 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, President Harry S. Truman signed legislation into law to establish the Fulbright Program, an international academic exchange program with an ambitious goal—to increase mutual understanding, and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
The Fulbright Program now operates in 160 countries and has provided over 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and in all fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to complex global challenges. This timeline represents some of the significant milestones in the Fulbright Program’s history. Check back to see more entries, which will be posted throughout 2021.
The Fulbright Program Is Established
To promote international goodwill and mutual understanding, President Harry S. Truman signed the Fulbright Act into law on August 1, 1946, launching the framework for the Fulbright Program.
John Hope Franklin Begins Fulbright Journey
Franklin, a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, author, historian and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board Chair, was a Fulbright Scholar to the UK in 1954 and later to Australia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.
Year of 7 Fulbright Nobel Prize Laureates
Future Fulbrighter Linus Pauling (pictured) won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the same year that six future Nobel Laureates received Fulbright awards: Milton Friedman, Philip Anderson, William Fowler, Niels Jerne, Roy Glauber & Hannes Alfven.
First Fulbrighter on Record with a Disability
Jeff Davis Duty, Jr. began his Fulbright in the United Kingdom at the London School of Economics. Later in his legal career, he successfully argued to allow guide dogs in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Future Nobel Laureate Starts Fulbright
Muhammad Yunus arrived in the U.S. from Bangladesh to study economics. The professor, social entrepreneur, and founder of Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize (2006) for microlending to reduce poverty.
Fulbrighter Walks on the Moon
Apollo 17 astronaut and 1958 Fulbrighter to Norway Harrison “Jack” Schmitt is the only scientist and the most recent person still living to have walked on the Moon. He was a NASA administrator, professor, and U.S. Senator (NM).
Fulbright 40th Anniversary
Distinguished Lecturer Grants Program created to celebrate Fulbright’s anniversary. Recipients include luminaries such as poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who traveled on her Fulbright to Ghana in 1986.
Fulbright Expands Following Cold War
Fulbright began in Eastern Europe in the 1940s, continued during the Cold War, and after its end, new Fulbright Commissions opened In Hungary (1992), Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
Fulbright Alumni Serve in Congress
Fulbright alumni have long served in the U.S. Congress. The 110th U.S. Congress convened on January 4, 2007, with four Fulbright alumni serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships Established
Many Fulbrighters have engaged in public health projects. With the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships launched to promote clinical research in resource-limited settings.
National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship
Fulbright partners with the National Geographic Society to select and train Fulbrighters to spark broader conversations around globally significant themes.
Teacher Exchanges expand program offerings for primary and secondary teachers in the U.S. and 70 countries; nearly 11,000 teacher alumni have brought global perspectives to classrooms around the world.
Fulbright Refreshes Narrative & Brand Identity
The refreshed brand underscores Fulbright is for talented students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals from all backgrounds who seek to share knowledge and build diverse and dynamic networks.
6 Fulbright Alumni Lead Their Countries
Served or were elected: Colville Norbert Young (Belize), Ashraf Ghani (Afghanistan), Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Croatia), David Granger (Guyana), Alexander de Croo (Belgium), Francisco Sagasti (Peru)
75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program
Over the last 75 years, more than 400,000 alumni have participated in the Fulbright Program, creating meaningful global impact with a focus on action, community, and connections.
Fulbright Alumni: Lasting Legacies
Dame Ivy Dumont
Former Governor-General of the Bahamas
Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, 1962
Genuine leadership is “an attitude of the heart.”Read Her Story
John Hope Franklin
Prominent Scholar & Historian of American History
Fulbright U.S. Scholar and Distinguished Fulbright U.S. Scholar to multiple countries
We’ve got to tell the unvarnished truth.Read His Story
President Emerita of Ashoka
U.S. Student to Trinidad & Tobago, 1995
It was my year in Trinidad…that most inspired my next career choices.Read Her Story
Discover Fulbright Program news and updates.
Join Fulbright Iceland as they celebrate 64 years of the Fulbright Program in Iceland and 75 years of the worldwide program.
We congratulate the 2020-21 Top Producing Institutions of Fulbright U.S. Students and Scholars, who had the most Fulbrighters in certain categories.
Fulbright Japan announced that Rakuten, Inc. has committed to establishing the Fulbright-Mikitani Memorial Grant to support future Japanese participants.
The National Archives and the State Department formalized a new partnership to establish the Fulbright-National Archives Heritage Science Fellowship.
Fulbright and the National Park Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), increasing environmental and cultural awareness worldwide.
Read more about the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary celebration in DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s official blog.
Take a look back at the program’s highlights and milestones in an unprecedented year.
Now back from the field, the four 2019-20 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellows share their research and photos.
Organizations around the world are celebrating Fulbright's 75th Anniversary.