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Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2014
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 by US Senator James William Fulbright. It is an educational exchange program sponsored by the US government designed with the aim of improving and strengthening ties and mutual understanding between US citizens and participants from around the world. The program currently operates in over 150 countries (it began operating in Spain in 1958). It is run by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, following the general guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board –made up of twelve members chosen directly by the President of the United States– with the aid of bilateral commissions and foundations in 50 countries and more than 100 US embassies abroad in addition to other agencies on American soil. Funding for the program comes mainly from the US Congress, although it also receives financial support from public and private entities in the USA, as well as from the countries participating in the program.
During its more than 65 years of existence, what are popularly known as Fulbright scholarships have given students, researchers and teachers the opportunity to learn, research and teach and exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges and interests of a global nature. Students aspiring to enter the program each year are evaluated for both their academic merit and leadership potential. Over 300,000 students have participated in this academic program to date, approximately one third of whom are from the USA, the remainder belonging to the group of countries with exchange agreements. The program offers several options according to the academic level of participants, depending on whether they already hold a PhD or not. The Fulbright NEXUS Program is also worth highlighting. This is a network of young PhD holders, professionals and researchers from the USA and other Western countries who participate for a year in multidisciplinary research teams and in a series of meetings in the form of seminars that enable them to exchange experiences. The program likewise boasts an extensive network of student and alumni associations worldwide –around 70– whose main goal is to strengthen the relationship among and expand the contact network of all participants in the Fulbright scholarships, in addition to contributing to the integration of foreign scholars who visit these countries to further their studies.
The US administration grants 8,000 scholarships annually among the selected students. Throughout its history, more than 150 participants have been distinguished with Nobel, Pulitzer or MacArthur Foundation prizes. In addition, some Prince of Asturias Award Laureates, such as Richard Serra (Arts, 2010) and Muhammad Yunus (Concord, 1998), among others, have also participated in the Fulbright Program.
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