FOR 75 YEARS, the Fulbright Program has provided life-changing opportunities for over 400,000 people from all backgrounds—recent graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists, scholars, and more—to learn from each other, advance ideas, and build understanding across borders. During Fulbright’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2021, we recognized the profound impact the Fulbright Program has had on the lives of individuals and communities across the globe.
EACH MONTH OF Fulbright’s 75th Anniversary year, we focused on a theme and highlighted Fulbright leaders, events, and activities, sharing some of the many ways that Fulbrighters inspire, innovate, and find solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world. The full articles can be found at Fulbright75.org/impact.
MORE THAN 400,000 individuals have participated in a Fulbright exchange experience and returned with enhanced skills, new connections, and greater global understanding. In celebration of Fulbright’s 75th Anniversary, we featured four notable Fulbrighters each month to represent all of our alumni who have made an impact on the communities and world. From government ministers, university presidents, and award-winning journalists and scientists to captains of industry, community organizers, inspiring artists, and classroom teachers, the diversity of the Fulbright program is on full display. Find all 48 of their stories at Fulbright75.org/alumni.
THE FULBRIGHT COMMUNITY, including U.S. embassies and Fulbright commissions, universities, alumni organizations, partners, and other Program stakeholders around the world helped us celebrate Fulbright’s 75th anniversary in 2021. 162 events were held throughout the anniversary year.
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF State celebrated Fulbright’s 75th Anniversary on November 30 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Keynote speakers Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, and alumna Dr. Ruth Simmons praised the program and its alumni.
Acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming spoke about her Fulbright experience, and newly appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield provided closing remarks. Alumnus Jonathan Rabb, founder and CEO of Watch The Yard, a digital platform for Black college culture, served as host for the evening.
The over 40 alumni featured throughout the evening shared inspiring stories. They described key moments of their Fulbright experiences and the ongoing positive impact that they are making
on communities in the U.S. and around the world. The program highlighted themes including the environment; education; public service; science, technology, and public health; and the arts. Two special montages showcased Fulbrighter success in journalism and the arts. A number of journalists were
featured, including 2021 award winners Maria Ressa, (Nobel Peace Prize), Megha Rajagopalan (Pulitzer Prize), and Daniel Alarcón (MacArthur Fellowship). Fulbright alumni artists, including Maya Angelou, John Lithgow, Sylvia Plath, Dale Chihuly, Philip Glass, and others were also honored during the event.
Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), John Boozman (Arkansas) and Fulbright alumni serving in Congress Tom Cole (Oklahoma) and John Sarbanes (Maryland) as well as their colleagues Barbara Lee (California) and Nita Lowey (New York), also shared their support for the Fulbright Program and praised its important role in public diplomacy.
Two performances by Fulbright alumni were highlights of the event. Sam Nester, a trumpet player and electro-composer from Australia, performed an original composition. Alito Alessi’s DanceAbility International company —a mix of dancers with and without disabilities—performed one of Alessi’s original choreographies.
Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University and former president of Smith College and Brown University, delivered powerful remarks about how a Fulbright experience uplifts individuals and positively impacts communities by providing people with opportunities to work across differences and find common purpose.
Alumni shared about the impact of the personal friendships and professional collaborations across countries that Fulbright has helped foster and expressed appreciation for the Program’s diversity and focus on providing international experiences to all, and especially those in underserved communities.
Watch the event recap on the Fulbright 75th Anniversary website, read more about the event on the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website, view photos from the event, and view the event press release.
FULBRIGHT COMMISSIONS, U.S. embassies, universities, and other Fulbright partners and supporters celebrated Fulbright’s 75th Anniversary with a wide range of activities that took place around the world. The Fulbright Program’s success is based on a sustained commitment to international bilateral partnerships and shared priorities. Fulbright Days celebrate the impact of these important partnerships across the globe. See all the Fulbright Days held in 2021 at Fulbright75.org/fulbright-days.
THROUGHOUT THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY in 2021, we celebrated the Fulbright Program’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion and to striving to ensure that its participants and alumni reflect U.S. society and societies abroad. We believe that by living and learning together with people from different countries and cultures, we can shape a more positive vision for our communities and our world.
WE ENCOURAGED ALL program alumni and partners to share their Fulbright experiences, engage with their local communities and schools, join the diverse and dynamic network of Fulbrighters around the world, and participate in special anniversary initiatives. Learn more at Fulbright75.org/get-involved.
THE FULBRIGHT PROGRAM enriches the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the
world and forges friendship and cooperation across cultures, borders, and languages. When President Truman signed the act establishing the Fulbright Program in 1946, it was less than a year after World War II had ended. The devastation of that war was still keenly felt. There was an urgent need to create lasting conditions for peace, to build mutual understanding among nations, to foster goodwill among their people.
The Fulbright Program helped answer that need. It brings people together through educational and professional exchanges, giving them a chance to learn about other countries and cultures, collaborate on issues of global importance, and create connections that last a lifetime. In the 75 years since its inception, the Fulbright Program has grown into our country’s premier international exchange program. Its alumni include more than 400,000 people from 160 countries. They’re students and recent graduates at the very start of their careers, as well as scientists, teachers, researchers, and artists with many years of experience. Fulbrighters are simply an extraordinary group of people who reflect all facets of our global diversity.
The power of personal connection that this Program makes possible is just as important as ever. The members of the Fulbright Community are changemakers. They care deeply about the problems facing our world today, from stopping COVID-19 to countering threats to democracy. And through Fulbright, they help strengthen our world, from classrooms, villages, universities, and cities across the globe.
As a diplomat, I love the Fulbright Program because it helps create the space for people to learn from each other and connect across cultural divides, which makes global cooperation possible. I can’t wait to see what this Program will become in the years ahead. Thank you, Fulbright.
View full Year-In-Review Report.