Fulbright Exchanges Do Make a Difference
By Allan Burns, UF Fulbright Advisor and Anthropology Department Chair
TThe Fulbright exchange program was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year, a unique honor since the prize is usually given to individuals and not programs. Here at UF, few of the 150 faculty who have had Fulbright awards or this year's 30 visiting Fulbright students think of themselves as candidates for a Nobel prize. Fulbright scholars, however, are often placed in historic moments of change, and the ties they make with colleagues in other countries go a long way to promote peace.
Senator William Fulbright began the program in 1945 as an innovative way for the US to improve the international scope of university faculty as well as strengthen higher education on a global scale. One goal for internationalizing our college and the university is to send 20 percent of our students to study abroad. Fulbright awards are one way to accomplish this. In the past ten years, approximately 40 CLAS students have won Fulbrights.
As the college works hard to globalize the curriculum and encourage international experiences for students, we can also use Fulbright awards to strengthen the international experiences of the faculty in all departments. What a campus we would have if 20 percent of our faculty had significant and long term experiences in another country through Fulbright awards.
A Fulbright award is the currency of the international academic world: its value is always high, it has an unassailable reputation, and it can produce intellectual capital at a surprising rate.