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Fulbright Association Founding

In 1976, the Board of Foreign Scholarships (now the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board) convened regional Fulbright alumni meetings to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Fulbright Program. The Fulbright Association, Inc., grew out of resolutions adopted at those meetings.

Senator J. William Fulbright also encouraged alumni to create an active constituency for the Fulbright Program. He wanted alumni to educate members of Congress and the public about the benefits of advancing increased mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. He also wanted U.S. alumni to welcome and to exchange ideas with Fulbrighters from abroad. Senator Fulbright traveled from Arkansas to the United Kingdom on a Rhodes scholarship and valued throughout his life the welcome and support he received while he studied away from home.

The Fulbright Association was established on Feb. 27, 1977, as an independent, private nonprofit, membership organization. The late Arthur Power Dudden became its founding president.

The U.S. Fulbright Association's interest and ability to further a "global network" of Fulbright alumni associations was formally recognized in 1983 by the executive directors of Fulbright Commissions in Europe and Israel in the following resolution: "We recognize that the experience and support of former Fulbrighters can help to maintain the high quality of the Fulbright Program in the future; we shall assist the formation and activities of Fulbright alumni within our respective countries; and we shall encourage their cooperation with the Fulbright Alumni Association of the United States of America."

 

Strengthening the Fulbright Alumni Community

The Fulbright Association currently has approximately 6,000 individual members, about one-third of whom are life members. To facilitate interaction and discussion on global issues, the Association launched an online community for Fulbright alumni and has increased the functionality of that network with this redesigned web site. 

Approximately 172 institutional members, including colleges, universities, and international educational organizations throughout the country, support the Fulbright Association.

Our 60 local affiliates hold more than 200 programs for visiting Fulbrighters and alumni throughout the country. 

Minutes of the Association's first meeting of members in February 1977 record participants' desire to create an alumni organization that would extend and build upon the Fulbright experience and enable alumni to give something back. The Fulbright Association exists to help alumni contribute to the well-being of the Fulbright Program, to the institutions and communities to which they return, and to the country that made possible their Fulbright experience.