German-American Fulbright Commission Marks 60 Years
Enlarge image Dr. Rolf Hoffmann, Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission (2nd from left), with Minister of State Cornelia Pieper (center) (© AA) Since 1952, the Fulbright Commission has been helping young Germans and Americans study and do research abroad. On March 19, the 60th anniversary of the international organization was commemorated at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. As honorary chairman of the exchange program, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle invited numerous American scholarship recipients to the event.
In addition to German and American alumni, partners of the Commission from the fields of politics, academia, and culture took part in the celebration, which began with the reading of a greeting sent by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“An academic exchange success story”
In her speech, Cornelia Pieper, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, praised the Fulbright Program as a "success story in academic exchange, international understanding, and learning from one another." The steadily sinking percentage of Americans with European roots called for a new generation of transatlanticists beyond the traditionally linked groups in Germany and America, said the Minister of State.
Enlarge image In addition to partners and sponsors of the Commission, around 350 American scholarship holders came to the anniversary celebration at the Federal Foreign Office. (© AA) Following World War II, the Fulbright Commission made support for studying abroad available to German and American academics for the first time. With foresight, Senator Fulbright had brought the program before the United States Congress in 1946 with the aim of contributing to international understanding through academic exchange after the experience of war.
In 1952, when the organization was founded, the intergovernmental agreement between the United States of America and the still young Federal Republic of Germany was signed. Since 1961, the Federal Foreign Office has participated, also financially, as an equal partner in the bilateral program, contributing around three million dollars annually.
By supporting more than 40,000 Americans and Germans, the program in Germany is the largest bilateral agreement within the framework of the Fulbright network. In addition to the cornerstones of the program–academic excellence and intercultural competency–the Fulbright Commission has had a new focus for around five years now: integrating new target groups, for example students with a migration background.