Fulbright alumni have had an impact on the arts that spans disciplines and generations. Some Fulbright arts alumni are household names, while others are rising talents, working in creative fields including the performing arts, journalism and writing, architecture and public art, and visual arts. These artists have inspired and connected individuals and communities across the world, and their works and legacies demonstrate the power and importance of the arts in today’s world and through the ages.
Rita Dove (1974 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany) is a Poet Laureate of the United States whose poetry has earned her honors including the Pulitzer Prize, The National Medal of Arts, the National Humanities Medal, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal, and whose teaching and writing has inspired generations of students. Her public roles and performances have done much to spread the word about poetry and increase public awareness of the benefits of literature, and she has been a professor at the University of Virginia since 1989. She was a Fulbright student at the Universität Tübingen in Germany early in her career, after graduating summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio and earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa.
Watch An Evening of Poetry with Rita Dove.
Renée Fleming (1984 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany), one of the most celebrated sopranos in modern history, has expanded on her brilliant career performing in opera, concerts, recordings, theater, film, and at major public occasions, by becoming a leading advocate for research and broader application of discoveries at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience. As Artistic Advisor-at-Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, she has spearheaded a collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, with the participation of the National Endowment for the Arts, to advance the field of arts and health. A Fulbright award early in her career enabled her to study German and begin developing a mastery of the music of Mozart and Strauss that would lead to international acclaim. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Fleming is known for bringing new audiences to classical music and opera, and she is the only classical artist ever to have performed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. As a musical stateswoman, she has sung at distinguished occasions including the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Beijing Olympic Games, President Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration in 2008, the Brandenburg Gate concert commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. Among Fleming’s numerous awards are the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for an individual artist, Germany’s Cross of the Oder of Merit, and the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, the highest order of merit in France. In collaboration with leading scientists and educators, her Music and the Mind program explores childhood development, cognitive neuroscience, evolution, music therapy and the impact on healthcare, the impact of music education, the future of music in medicine, and the role of music in creating community.
Learn more about Renée Fleming.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (2009 Fulbright U.S. Student to Germany) is an OBIE Award-winning playwright, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and 2016 MacArthur Fellow whose seven plays touch on complex issues around identity, family, class, and race, often using history to comment on modern culture. A graduate of Princeton University and New York University, he wrote his first play while working as an editorial assistant at The New Yorker before receiving a Fulbright award to study in Berlin, where he wrote his next two plays, An Octoroon and Appropriate. He is currently a master-artist-in-residence at the MFA Playwriting program of Hunter College, CUNY, and a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.
Daniel Libeskind (1985 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Finland) is an architect, professor, and urban designer who has made his mark on public spaces around the world with community-focused designs for public buildings that encourage people to reflect on history and common humanity. He evokes cultural memory with his work, from Berlin’s Jewish Museum to the master plan for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. He taught architecture for 16 years and was a professor of architectural theory at the Helsinki University of Technology on his Fulbright in 1985, before founding Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife, Nina.
Roger Rosenblatt (1965 Fulbright U.S. Student to Ireland) is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning author, essayist, and playwright who speaks and writes frequently about the art and craft of writing, free speech, and the power of books. He has been a longtime essayist for Time Magazine and PBS, and is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook University. He was a Fulbright student in Ireland and became the youngest dean in the history of Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D., before he began writing professionally as a literary editor and editorialist for The New Republic. His literary work has been published in 14 languages.