50th Anniversary of the
Fulbright Program in Uruguay
1960 – 2010
In 1949 the U.S. Congress votes an initiative by Senator J. William Fulbright and creates the "Fulbright Program"; its mission is to promote mutual understanding through educational exchange and to foster world peace.
In 1960, diplomats from the United States of America and Uruguay sign a Treaty to implement the Fulbright Program in Uruguay; thus is created an International Organism located in Montevideo: The Fulbright Commission, that in 2010 celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
At the beginning, Fulbright Uruguay had only two exchange programs: one for Uruguayan citizens and the other one for U.S. citizens, each with approximately 10 grantees per year. Since then, the Fulbright Program in Uruguay has sustained a continuous growth and today we administrate over 10 Grant Programs with about 100 grantees per year; we also host an EducationUSA Advising Center within our offices.
In the last few years, more than one thousand professionals and scholars from Uruguay and about 1600 from the U.S. have engaged in research studies, have studied and lectured in universities, and have obtained their Masters Degrees and their PhDs in both countries.
The Fulbright Program has also helped establish institutional agreements that have enabled the public and the private universities in Uruguay to have exchange programs with some of the most important U.S. schools.
Fulbright is the most prestigious academic program in the U.S. and the world and it stands for international education. The human bonds that are created through international education are long-lived and strong: they transcend the individuals and have a multiplying impact in society.
Our goal is to achieve not only better educational opportunities but to broaden the horizons, encourage empathy and the acceptance of diversity that are essential to promote an understanding between people from different nations and to foster world peace.
Senator Fulbright once said: "The Fulbright Program aims to bring a little more knowledge, a little more reason, and a little more compassion into world affairs, and thereby to increase the chance that nations will learn at last to live in peace and friendship."
In this time of globalization, international education is essential as it provides a multicultural vision that has become a requirement to understand the world we live in. Uruguay needs "global citizens" trained in a world of global economies. The job market has started to take applicants with experience abroad, as a guarantee that they ll have an open mind and the necessary flexibility to cope with challenges. The Fulbright Program has been giving Uruguayan citizens this growth opportunity for 50 years.
A special mention must be made of the Teacher Exchange Program, that has been working with public elementary and secondary schools; through Teacher Exchange, approximately 250 teachers have visited schools in all the U.S. territory, and 75 U.S. teachers have visited schools in Uruguay.
In the last 10 years, the U.S. Government has contributed more than 7 million dollars to Fulbright Uruguay; however, even this huge amount is small when compared to the impact of the educational exchanges in the life of the individuals and the institutions that have shared the Fubright experience.
To live and study in a different country and learn to see that country with new eyes and an open mind is a life-changing experience. It questions our beliefs, our prejudices and our assumptions and it makes us discover that, despite all our differences, we have more in common than we knew. This has been, at its core, the experience that Fulbrighters from Uruguay and the U.S. have enjoyed.