The global Fulbright Program was created in 1946 in response to an exceptional political situation – the end of a brutal world war and the urgent need for greater international understanding. A 1948 treaty between the US and the UK governments specifically established the US-UK Fulbright Commission, one of the first Fulbright programmes in the world.
In the beginning, Fulbright Scholars crossed the Atlantic by boat, sailing into New York, Liverpool and Southampton. Today, our Fulbright community comprises teachers, artists, scientists, and mathematicians; actors and doctors; MBAs, MFAs, PhDs and MPAs.
Over the years, thousands of American and British students and scholars have benefitted from the opportunity to study in each other’s countries, and the experience has impacted their lives and their work long after returning home. Today we are the only exchange programme offering scholarships for students and scholars both ways across the Atlantic between the US and the UK, and our awards span every discipline.
Celebrating 75 years of impact
It was on September 22, 1948 that the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom signed a treaty to create the US-UK Fulbright Commission, one of the first bilateral programmes of its kind.
Seventy-five may be a venerable age but there is no diminishing the urgency of our work. The Fulbright mission of advancing knowledge and building empathy and civic engagement through education exchange remains as important as ever.
Over the course of 2023, we are celebrating the transformational stories of individual Fulbrighters and the impact our 25,000-strong alumni community has made on the world, whether as pioneering researchers and entrepreneurs or poets and politicians. Of equal importance, we are also looking ahead to our next decades and our strategic priorities of widening participation in Fulbright programming and supporting our Fulbright community to tackle global challenges.
A commitment to achieving excellence in education through diversity and inclusion
At the US-UK Fulbright Commission, diversity, inclusion and equity are an integral part of the pursuit of excellence across the organisation. Specifically, we aim:
- To maintain inclusive and equitable awards processes that result in grantee cohorts that accurately represent the diversity, in all its dimensions, of both the UK and the US.
- To foster a Fulbrighter community that does not shy away from the uncomfortable, hard work of working towards equity and inclusion and, indeed, celebrates its leadership on this issue.
- To support Fulbright-funded research, teaching and programming that advance understanding of diversity and make a meaningful contribution to addressing the global challenges of inequity and social justice.
- To build an organisation – staff and board – who represent the diversity of today’s UK, and who embrace a culture of respect, engagement and belonging.