Photo of a woman doing research on a snowy mountain
Dr. Alia Khan
U.S. to Chile, 2018

75 Years of Global Impact

In 2021, we celebrate the Fulbright Program’s history of positive impact on the lives of individuals as well as on global and local communities. We look forward to the next 75 years of Fulbrighters enriching their educations, advancing their careers, and making meaningful contributions to society.

Wing of an airplane in flight.

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?

Royal Hartigan, U.S. to Ghana, 2014
Mutual understanding starts with personal connections. (Hartigan with drum)
Photo of Fulbrighters engaging with members of the local community.
Stan Breckenridge, U.S. to Poland, 2012
“From time to time we take a detour that results in a life-changing experience…Fulbright, for me, was one of those times.”
Photo of Stan Breckinridge giving a thumbs-up
Chiamaka Ukachukwu, U.S. to Belgium, 2017
“Fulbright was a great opportunity for me to expand my international scientific work and made me feel more comfortable pursuing opportunities abroad.”
Photo of Chimaka Ukachukwu
Marie Bernard, France to U.S., 2019
Fulbrighters are bright, bold, and action-oriented.
Photo of Marie Bernard
Katie Thornton, U.S. to U.K. and Singapore, 2018
“Fulbright gave me the time and freedom [to build] friendships that will last a lifetime and experiences that committed me to storytelling.”
Photo of Katie Thornton standing by a tree with recording equipment
Hailey Dickson, U.S. to India, 2018
Cultural exchange creates opportunities to share ideas and gain new perspectives.
Photo of Hailey Dickson
Sofyan Essarraoui, Morocco to U.S., 2019
“As a teacher on Fulbright, I learned how to use technology to help me teach more efficiently and help students learn a language more effectively.” (Essarraoui in center)
Photo of Sofyan Essarraoui

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
Pulitzer Prizes.


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.

Photo of Harry Truman signing legislation

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.

Photo of John Hope Franklin

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.

Photo of Fulbrighter and Nobel laureate Linus Pauling

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.

Photo of Jeff Davis Duty, Jr. and his guide

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.

Photo of Muhammad Yunus

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.

Photo of an astronaut on the moon

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).

Photo of Maya Angelou

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.

Photo of Budapest, Hungary

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.

Photo of the United States Capitol

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.

Photo of four young people standing in the road

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.

Photo of woman looking into a camera

National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship

Fulbright partners with the National Geographic Society to select and train Fulbrighters to spark broader conversations around globally significant themes.

Photo of teach in a science class with secondary students

Classroom Diplomacy

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 Seal

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.

Photo of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai in July 2011

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)

Photo of children holding up hand-written pledges

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.

When a Fulbrighter comes back… they can share the experiences they’ve had and create a world that has more empathy and understanding for people that are different from ourselves.
Aurora Brachman
U.S. to Kiribati, 2017
Photo of a woman dancing on a beach with children


Fulbright Alumni: Lasting Legacies

Photo of Rosalyn Yalow

Rosalyn Yalow

Medical Physicist

U.S. Fulbrighter to Portugal, 1977

Rosalyn Yalow was the first American-born woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Read Her Story
Photo of Amar Bose

Amar Bose

Founder, Bose Corp.

U.S. Student to India, 1956

Never lose your imagination. Always dream of things that are better and think about ways to reach those things.

Read His Story
Photo of Rishi Sunak Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom

Rishi Sunak

Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom

Foreign Student from the U.K., 2005

Across government and civil society, Fulbright alumni showcase leadership and contribute to the global interchange of ideas.

Read His Story
Jenné Nurse Equity Coordinator, Virginia Dept. of Education

Jenné Nurse

Equity Coordinator, Virginia Dept. of Education

U.S. Student to South Africa, 2018

I would describe Fulbright as transformational. It impacts every part of who you are.

Read Her Story
of Fulbrighters reported that they were exposed to new ideas in their field during their Fulbright exchange experience. This exposure leads to new international collaborations and to advancements in health, science, and technology.
Dr. Jiraporn Inthasan
Thailand to U.S., 2019
Photo of a woman conducting scientific research
Get Connected

In the Media

Recent News

Discover Fulbright Program news and updates.

Fulbright Partners with National Park Service to Strengthen Exchanges

Fulbright and the National Park Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), increasing environmental and cultural awareness worldwide.

Read MoreFulbright Partners with National Park Service to Strengthen Exchanges

Fulbright Program Celebrates 75th Anniversary in 2021

Read more about the Fulbright Program’s 75th anniversary celebration in DipNote, the U.S. Department of State’s official blog.

Read MoreFulbright Program Celebrates 75th Anniversary in 2021

The Fulbright Program’s 2020 Year in Review

Take a look back at the program’s highlights and milestones in an unprecedented year.

Read MoreThe Fulbright Program’s 2020 Year in Review

The 2019-20 Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows Share their Stories

Now back from the field, the four 2019-20 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellows share their research and photos.

Read MoreThe 2019-20 Fulbright-National Geographic Fellows Share their Stories

2021 Events & Activities

Organizations around the world are celebrating Fulbright's 75th Anniversary.

Submit activities and events here, if you would like to be featured below.

1.18 Fulbright Service Week More information 1.29 Special Fulbright Impact in the Field Reunion Panel: Global Health & COVID-19 More information 1.30 The FLTA Mid-Year Conference More information 2.11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science More information 2.20 National FFA Week More information 2.23 Fulbright Country Day: Iceland More information 2.25 A Conversation with Fulbrighter Jeffrey C. Stewart More information 3.08 International Women’s Day More information 3.11 Fulbright Country Day: Guinea More information 3.15 Fulbright Country Day: South Africa More information 3.19 Fulbright Country Day: Portugal More information 3.21 World Poetry Day More information
Get Involved: We encourage all program alumni, partners, and friends to engage with Fulbright and their communities.
Ramy Kheir
Egypt to U.S., 2019
Photo of a Fulbrighter helping at a food bank.