“The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.”
–J. William Fulbright
The Fulbright Program, the US Government’s international exchange program, was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by former Senator J. William Fulbright. The program is designed “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries.” Under the Fulbright program, grants are awarded to American and foreign nationals to study, teach, lecture and conduct research abroad.
The founder of the program was Senator J. William Fulbright. The culture shock he experienced as a 21-year old Rhodes Scholar in England convinced him that the way to achieve peace in the world was for people of all countries to get to know and respect each other’s traditions, cultures, and values. Senator Fulbright’s idea was simplicity itself. Create a program, with the whole world as its stage, that would simultaneously encourage students from as many countries as possible to study in the United States while persuading young Americans to live in, and come to know and understand, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Western Hemisphere, and the Pacific.
In September of 1943, the House adopted the Fulbright Resolution, which advocated international peace-keeping and encouraged the United States to take part in what became the United Nations. In 1946, Fulbright’s legislation establishing the Fulbright Program passed the Senate unanimously and the first participants in the Fulbright Program were selected and began their endeavours in 1948.
The program was originally financed by the sale of US war surplus property, later also with US-held foreign currencies from the sale of grain abroad, and by funds appropriated by Congress. In the early years, the program largely depended on American enthusiasm; as a new century approaches, it draws its energy from 51 binational Fulbright commissions and educational institutions in every corner of the globe. Today, about 60 percent of the program’s costs are covered by the government of the United States, with the rest coming from educational institutions, more than 40 governments of other nations, and the private sector. Now 21 of 51 partner nations match or exceed US funding.
The term “Fulbright” covers a wide variety of programs: grants for American and foreign graduate students and graduating seniors; research awards for up to a year overseas for American and foreign scholars; lecturer awards; short-term faculty exchanges; efforts to bring public administrators to the United States; and programs to encourage exchanges of teachers and administrators, institutional linkages, the study of foreign languages, and doctoral and faculty research abroad.
Fulbright involves nearly every conceivable discipline in the arts and humanities, commerce and finance, science and technology, education, journalism, media, and government. It counts among its alumni distinguished men and women in every walk of life. They include poets and presidents, Nobel laureates and syndicated columnists, artists and business leaders, economists, physicians, actors, playwrights, financiers, and cabinet officials. Whatever the field of study or profession of its recipients, the Fulbright experience has enlarged and deepened the perspective of potential national and international leaders.
Since the Fulbright Program began in 1946, more than 300,000 Fulbrighters from over 155 countries have participated. Since the beginning of the Fulbright Program in 1946, more than 189,000 foreign nationals have gone to the United States for study, teaching, lecturing or research. More than 101,000 Americans have gone abroad.
In the United States, the Fulbright Program is funded by the US State Department through annual appropriations from the US Congress.
Grants are available to US citizens for post-graduate study, post-doctoral research, and university lecturing in over 140 countries around the world. For non-Americans, grants are also available for similar purposes in the United States.
Overseas, the Fulbright Program is administered by binational Fulbright Commissions, as in Indonesia. In non-Commission countries, the Fulbright Program is administered by the Public Affairs section of the US Embassy. Find out more about the Overseas Fulbright Commissions.
The Fulbright Program has been called the single most productive contribution of the United States to positive international relations.
Fulbright in Indonesia: A Chronology
The Fulbright Act established an international educational and cultural exchange program designed to promote “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world.
The Fulbright Program was introduced in Indonesia. Among the first Indonesian grantees were H. Agus Salim and Hassan Shadilly. The program was administered by the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy until 1987.
The American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) was established as an Indonesian foundation by representatives of the US Information Service and Indonesian scholars to encourage Indonesians to study in the US and Americans to come to Indonesia to engage in academic and scholarly exchange activities.
The Fulbright-Francis J. Galbraith Memorial Scholarship Program was launched in 1987 with financial support from Pertamina and the US Government. The program continued through to 1994, having helped thirteen grantees earn master’s degree in fields related to the oil and gas industry.
The American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) became a full-fledged binational Fulbright Commission with the signing of the “Educational and Cultural Agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia” by the late Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas and then Ambassador John C. Monjo. The agreement is to promote scholarly and cultural exchanges and further mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries, and has been renewed and revised several times up until the present.
AMINEF took up an office at the Balai Pustaka building in Jakarta, provided as in-kind contribution from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.
PT Freeport Indonesia donated funds to AMINEF for partial funding of Fulbright grantees from Papua and eastern Indonesia to pursue master’s degrees in the United States.
The Putera Sampoerna Foundation signed an MoU with AMINEF to fund annually two Indonesian Fulbright student grantees to pursue MBAs in the US and to cover the costs of placing eight US Student Fulbright ETAs in senior high schools in Indonesia. This program continued through 2010.
After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Aceh in December 2004, former US presidents Bush and Clinton donated funds for the Fulbright Tsunami Relief Initiative Master’s Degree Program through the Bush-Clinton Foundation. This program allowed citizens of Aceh affected by the tsunami to pursue master’s degrees (80 grantees) and doctoral degrees (two grantees) in the US. The last group of grantees from that program finished their degrees in 2011 and returned to Indonesia, a highly trained cadre of Fulbright alumni in fields contributing to the continued development of Aceh.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (AmCham), the Casten Family Foundation (New York), and USAID helped AMINEF to fund 46 Fulbright US Student ETAs placed at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) and madrasah. The program continued through 2009.
Two collaborative programs with funding from the Indonesian Government were initiated after the signing of MOUs. The Fulbright-DIKTI scholarship program provided funds for lecturers at Indonesian universities to pursue MA or PhD degree programs at US universities with Fulbright grants, in addition to other Fulbright research opportunities. This program has continued through the present (now under the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education and referred to as Grants for Indonesian Lecturers (RISTEK-DIKTI).
The Fulbright-KEMLU scholarship program provided funds to young diplomats and future diplomats in the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pursue MA and PhD degrees at American universities with Fulbright grants. This program will wind up when the last grantee returns with her PhD in 2017.
In 2009, too, PT Freeport Indonesia signed an MOU with AMINEF setting aside $1,000,000 for five years to cover the grant costs of applicants from Papua to the Fulbright MA program and the Community College Initiative Program, and to place US Fulbright Student ETAs in high schools in Papua.
President Obama and President Yudhoyono in the context of the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership, a long-term commitment to building closer bilateral relationships, announced the Higher Education Partnership (HEP). It focused on increasing the numbers of Indonesians and Americans studying and researching in one another’s countries. The binational Fulbright Program was cited as a key element in fostering the long-term relationship through people-to-people educational exchanges. The HEP has given even greater impetus to the Fulbright mission.
For instance, out of HEP has come the Fulbright Indonesia Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) fellowships, which began in this year and specifically aimed to develop Indonesian expertise in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with awards for Fulbright MA and PhD study in the US, as well as supporting Americans carrying out research or teaching in the STEM fields. The program continues to the present.
AMINEF moved its offices to the CIMB Niaga building at Jalan Sudirman Kav. 25, Jakarta. This is our new office in 2011.
In partnership with Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), AMINEF hosted An International Fulbright Symposium on Science and Technology: The Role of Science and Technology in Climate Change and Natural Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation on September 4-6, 2012 in Jakarta.
AMINEF moved its offices to Intiland Tower, Jl. Jend Sudirman Kav.32.
The EducationUSA program that had been run by AMINEF moved back to direct administration by the US Embassy. AMINEF staff continue to provide occasional administrative support through the present.
In May, AMINEF hosted a Midyear Enrichment Conference for 44 US Fulbright scholars in the ten countries of ASEAN and Timor Leste. The conference was open to the public, involved several Indonesian and American Fulbright alumni and involved close cooperation with the US Mission to ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat. The theme of the conference was “Issues in SEA studies: Society, Environment and Culture.”