The Fulbright Program is the United States’ largest educational and cultural exchange program, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It was initiated by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic exchange. The program is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious grant opportunities available to Polish students and scholars.
So far, over 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists from over 160 countries have participated in the program. 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. In 1990, the Office for Polish-American Scientific Exchange – an institution dedicated to administering the Fulbright Program – was established. In the subsequent years, it was renamed the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission.
Since its inception, over 5,000 Poles and Americans have participated in the program. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, arts and sciences, business, philanthropy, education, public service and athletics. Worldwide, Fulbright alumni have won 60 Nobel Prizes and a total of 95 Pulitzer Prizes while 40 Fulbright alumni have served as heads of state or government.
Many Polish Fulbright alumni have become prominent within Poland’s public life. Among the growing ranks are former Prime Ministers, a former European Commissioner for Regional Policy, government ministers and members of Parliament, university rectors, film directors, bank presidents, and a former Mayor of Warsaw. The Polish Fulbright Alumni Association website is www.fulbright.org.pl.
Grantees represent a variety of academics and researchers within the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, STEM disciplines and arts. Women in STEM fields are strongly encouraged to apply. The Commission welcomes applications from all candidates regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status and physical or mental ability.
The U.S. and Poland currently fund the Fulbright program at over $2.6 million annually, with balanced contributions from both countries. On an annual basis, the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission awards approximately 100 Fulbright fellowships, roughly 50 of which go to Polish scholars, students and educators and 50 to American scholars, specialists, students and English Teaching Assistants. In Poland, Fulbright grants are addressed to scholars to conduct research and/or teaching projects at American higher education institutions, doctoral candidates to pursue their dissertation-related research projects, and students who want to enroll in master, doctoral or other graduate-level programs in the USA. You can find more information about grants available to US students and scholars here.