The global Fulbright Program was created in 1946 in the aftermath of World War II through legislation introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. 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.
Senator J. William Fulbright was a prominent and gifted American statesman of the 20th century. His unequaled contribution to international affairs and his tenure as the longest serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee distinguished his political career of over thirty years in the United States Congress. He had a profound influence on America’s foreign policy. It was his vision for mutual understanding that shaped the extraordinary exchange programme bearing his name, a programme that explicitly promotes the empathy gained from cultural immersion as a key learning for all its awardees or, as they are known, Fulbrighters.
As the United States and nations around the world continue to grapple with racial and social justice issues, it is important to recognise that there are negative and painful aspects to Senator Fulbright’s biography. His voting record on civil rights contributed to the perpetuation of racism and inequality in the United States. His segregationist stance and his opposition to racial integration in public places, including in education, are clearly at odds with the ideals of the Fulbright Program and its legacy of hundreds of thousands of distinguished and diverse alumni, who are contributing to a more peaceful, equitable and just world.
The US-UK Commission is committed to representing the diversity of both countries in all its programming and to achieving excellence in education through inclusion and equity. It embraces a culture of respect, engagement and belonging.
For the specific initiatives that we have launched to deliver on these goals please visit the our story page.