The Fulbright Prize honors the largest and most significant
educational and cultural exchange program in history, as well as the
career and spirit of its creator, the late Senator J. William Fulbright
of Arkansas. The prize recognizes and rewards outstanding contributions
toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding
of others. The inaugural Fulbright Prize was awarded to former South
African President Nelson Mandela in 1993.
Four recipients of the Fulbright Prize—Nelson Mandela,
Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Martti Ahtisaari—have later been named
Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
The Fulbright Prize was awarded annually from 1993 to 2004. The prize is now awarded biennially.
The Prize, a $50,000 cash award, is presented at a special ceremony during which the laureate makes a substantive address on his/her work and aspirations. From 1993 to 2008,
the Fulbright Prize was supported with generous grants from the
Coca-Cola Foundation. Starting in 2010, the Fulbright Prize is funded
through support from sponsors and friends and income from the J. William
Fulbright Prize Endowment, established through a bequest by the late
John B. Hurford, a former vice president and director of the Fulbright
The 2010 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding was awarded to Bill and Melinda Gates (with then Fulbright Association President Suzanne Siskel)