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The Fulbright Program is program of educational grants (Fulbright Fellowships) sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. It was established to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.
The program was created through the efforts of Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, who promulgated its passage through the US Senate in 1946. It is considered one of the most prestigious award programs worldwide, operating in 144 countries and with 51 commissions. More Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes than those of any other academic programme, including two in 2002.
The Fulbright Program provides funds for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools abroad. The reach of this program had been primarily European countries in the beginning. Now the foundation and granting of scholarship funds are worldwide operations.
The Foundation promotes Western values, but broadly defined. Persons from any country may outline and define a program relating to education and Western values and submit it to the Fulbright Foundation for funding. The scholarships are so-called "challenge grants", in that recipients are required to undertake useful activities while studying abroad. Recipients of Fulbright Fellowships are subject to two-year home-residency requirement.
Its first participants went overseas in 1948, funded by war reparations and foreign loan repayments to the United States (Fulbright Foundation). Since then, some 250,000 individuals have received Fulbright Fellowships.
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