The Fulbright Program was founded as a means of creating connections between the people of the United States and other countries, attaining mutual understanding, and establishing peaceful relations between nations. The Program has always been a key and impactful part of U.S. soft diplomacy. As such, several U.S. Presidents, Secretaries of State, Members of Congress, and foreign diplomats and leaders have commented on Fulbright’s impressive alumni and impact on communities both large and small. We are pleased to share the following list of statements made by U.S. and world leaders about the Fulbright Program.
This Program is vitally important in widening the knowledge and technical ability of the peoples of the twelve participating countries.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman
Today it is vitally important that we and others detect and pursue the ways in which mutual and economic assistance the ways in which cultural and economic assistance will mean more to free world strength, stability, and solidarity than will military measures.
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
This [Fulbright] program has been most important in bettering relations of the United States with other parts of the world. It has been a major constructive step on the road toward peace.
U.S. President John F. Kennedy
….I think of the wonderful things about the (Fulbright) Program you represent is its contributions to the barriers of culture, events, religion, and ethics, having been broken down….
U.S. President James “Jimmy” Earl Carter, Jr.
There is a flickering spark in us all which, if struck at just the right age…can light the rest of our lives, elevating our ideals, deepening our tolerance, and sharpening our appetite for knowledge about the rest of the world. Educational and cultural exchanges, especially among our young, provide a perfect opportunity for this precious spark to grow, making us more sensitive and wiser international citizens through our careers.
U.S. President Ronald Wilson Reagan
For hundreds of thousands of scholars here and abroad, [the Fulbright Program] has cemented America’s mission as a nation that cares about and is engaged in the world community.
U.S. President Bill Clinton
The Fulbright Program strives for excellence, with an emphasis on mutual understanding. The program’s prestige among leaders in government, business, and education makes it unique.
The many exchanges made possible through the Fulbright Program have contributed to common understanding and common cause to defeat terrorism. The Fulbright dialogue has enriched nations, helping us to learn about each other and from each other. U.S. President George W. Bush
Fulbright has been a cornerstone of the United States’ engagement abroad […]. In 1946, the world looked very different than it does today, but the principles that the Fulbright Program was founded upon on still ring true. Fostering stronger relationships between peoples, communities and countries takes far more than government-to-government cooperation, it takes individuals working to find common ground.
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary R. Clinton (2009-2013)
Today, every American studying abroad is an ambassador for our nation, an individual who represents the true nature of our people and the principles of freedom and democracy for which we stand. Similarly, every foreign student attending one of our universities represents an opportunity to enhance democracy in America and to strengthen the cause of freedom abroad. Our citizens learn from the different perspectives that foreign students bring to our classrooms. And when these students ultimately return to their home overseas, they have new friends that they have met and memories of America that they will never forget […]. We must work together to expand existing programs with proven records of success – One is the Fulbright Scholarship Program.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009)
….Fulbrighters have all carried with them a better understanding of cultures [in addition to] their own, and as a result, they serve as agents of change, they shape opinions, and they contribute to the advancement of both knowledge and international understanding.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell (2001-2005)
The Fulbright Program is the cornerstone of our nation’s public diplomacy efforts. Now more than ever, the efforts of people, individuals, and groups of citizens are essential in addressing the critical issues of our time. From climate change to refugees and migration, to disability rights, Fulbright scholars are central to promoting cooperation on the many challenges that face nations around the world, and they represent accomplishments in so many fields.
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State (2013-2017)
…I firmly believe that people-to-people contacts are what make the countries of the world a true international community. The Fulbright Program has thus proved to be a blessing not only for generations of scholars but for our international relations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
The Fulbright Exchange program is a model for the kind of dialogue among cultures and civilizations that the United Nations has been promoting around the world. Today, perhaps more than ever, international understanding is essential to world peace-understanding between faiths, between natis, between cultures.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annon
The Fulbright Program has had a positive and important impact on generations of young Spaniards and Americans. If we are looking for ways to reinforce the transatlantic relationship this is something we must do more of.
NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana (1995-1999), 1966 Foreign Student from Spain
I’m pleased to be a Fulbright alumna and am determined to promote the values and principles of this program and our joint endeavors in our countries around the world…
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (2015-2020), 2002 Foreign Student from Croatia
Those relationships, those friendships, the depth of understanding are really the grease that keeps the wheels of international understanding.
Tom Cole, U.S. Representative, Oklahoma; Fulbright U.S. Scholar to UK 1977-1978
Fulbright has always been the flagship of U.S. public diplomacy because it has a very high profile internationally. So, keeping it strong means we are going to be betting on the future of public diplomacy and support for that in the United States.
U.S. Representative John Sarbanes (Maryland), 1984 U.S. Student to Greece
I saw first-hand the value of the Fulbright Program. And it is a great investment for the United States and the people of the United States. [….] The Fulbright Program, in particular, allows for an exchange of people and ideas. And that is essential to our success. [….] Let’s invest more up-front to try to prevent conflict in the first place, to try to strengthen understanding, and that’s what the Fulbright Program is all about.
U.S. Senator Chris van Hollen (Maryland)
A Fulbright is an open window not only to public service, but to international comity.
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana, 1977-2013)