On March 7 in Warsaw, Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher spoke at the kick-off event of a yearlong celebration by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission to honor the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Poland. The Ambassador hailed the Fulbright Program in Poland for “immeasurably enriching the people-to-people relations” between Poland and the United States, thanking the Polish government for its strong commitment to the program and its continuous increase of funding of the annual $2.4 million program that exchanges per year approximately 100 Polish and American scholars between the finest academic and scientific institutions in Poland and the United States. The Ambassador stressed that “the Fulbright program in Poland is all about investment in the careers of brilliant people and young scholars who will be the next leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.” At the end of the Ambassador’s remarks, Public Affairs Counselor Frank Finver read a congratulatory message from U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo who called the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Program “a model for Fulbright programs around the world.”
Other speakers at the celebration included Marek Konarzewski of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Skuza, Under Secretary of State from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and Prof. Juanita Villena-Alvarez from the University of South Carolina Beaufort, who spoke on “Why Polish Academia Can Be Attractive to American Students.” Following remarks by Polish government officials, the celebration continued with a riveting swing, jazz, and blues performance by the 12 members of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Jazz Ambassadors Band that the U.S. Embassy in Poland invited from Ramstein Air Base just for the occasion.
The celebration also represented the opening session of a conference “Direct to Internationalization: How to Attract American Students to Polish Universities,” which was co-organized by the Fulbright Commission and Poland’s National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) with co-founding provided by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. It was conceived by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, scientific, and cultural exchange. So far, over 380,000 students and scientists have participated in the program from over 160 countries. In Poland, the Fulbright Program has offered scholarships since 1959 owing to the generous and committed joint financial support of both the USA and Poland. Since its conception, more than 4,000 Poles have participated in the program. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, arts and science, business, philanthropy, education, and athletics. Worldwide, Fulbright alumni have won 59 Nobel Prizes and 84 Pulitzer Prize while 37 Fulbright alumni have served as heads of state or government.
Here is to another 60 years – and more – of the Fulbright Program in Poland!