By Michael J. Cavey
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in India. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) flagship international educational exchange program speaks to the very heart of ECA’s mission to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
The U.S.-India Educational Foundation hosted a reception celebrating this milestone anniversary, Feb. 3. ECA’s Assistant Secretary Marie Royce traveled to India for the event, and her keynote speech highlighted the impact and importance of the Fulbright Program for both India and the United States.
“Over the course of 70 years, more than 11,000 U.S. and Indian students and scholars have benefited from this extraordinary program,” said Royce. “Fulbright alumni include leaders in fields such as the arts, business, education, journalism, and science. In this distinguished cadre, we have three Nobel laureates, including [former] U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and three Pulitzer Prize winners. They all embody the qualities of a Fulbrighter: leadership, academic excellence, and a commitment to mutual understanding.”
The Fulbright Program was created in 1946 through legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright. The first Fulbright agreement between the United States and India was signed in 1950 by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and U.S. Ambassador Loy Henderson. In 2008, the U.S. signed a historic new Fulbright agreement making India a full partner of the United States in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program. The core Fulbright program became known as the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships to honor India’s first prime minister.
In the nearly 75 years since the Fulbright Program was established, it has grown to include more than 390,000 Fulbrighters representing over 160 countries, with approximately 8,000 grants awarded annually. To learn more about the program, please visit ECA’s website.
Michael J. Cavey is a public affairs specialist in the Office of Public Affairs and Strategic Communication.