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Fulbright Program celebrates 75th anniversary

The US flagship international educational exchange program, the Fulbright Program, has celebrated it 75th anniversary at an event hosted at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC this week.

Fulbright alumna and former Japanese minister for Justice Yōko Kamikawa joined the celebrations in Washington DC via video link. Photo: Fulbright

Some 40 Fulbright alumni have served as heads of state

The program is “surely one of the most beloved US government programs”, US secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said, adding that it enriches the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world and forges friendship and cooperation across cultures, borders and languages.

First established by president Harry S. Truman in 1946 – less than a year after the end of the Second World War – there was an “urgent need to create lasting conditions for peace, to build mutual understading among nations, to foster goodwill among their people”, Blinken continued.

“The Fulbright program helped answer that need,” he said.

“In the 75 years since its inception, the Fulbright Program has grown into our country’s premier international exchange program. It’s alumni include more than 400,000 people from 160 countries.”

Some 40 alumni have served as heads of state, nearly 90 have won Pulitzer prizes and more than 60 have won Nobel Prizes, the Secretary of State noted, including 2021’s Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa from the Philippines.

“Many would never have crossed paths if it weren’t for Fulbright”

“It’s simply an extraordinary group of people who reflect all facets of our global diversity, and many would never have crossed paths if it weren’t for Fulbright,” he added.

Incoming assistant secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Lee Satterfield, noted that “Fulbright creates a community”.

“A community with shared values that solves global issues,” she stated.

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