The Fulbright Program, is one of several United States Cultural Exchange Programs whose goal is to improve intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and intercultural competence between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. Via the program, competitively-selected American citizens including students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists may receive scholarships or grants to study, conduct research, teach, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States of America. The program was founded by the United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is considered to be one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world. The program provides 8,000 grants annually.
The U.S. Department of State sponsors the Fulbright Program and receives funding from the United States Congress via annual appropriation bills. Additional direct and in-kind support comes from partner governments, foundations, corporations, and host institutions both in and outside the U.S. In each of 49 countries, a bi-national Fulbright Commission administers and oversees the Fulbright Program. In countries without a Fulbright Commission but that have an active program, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy oversees the Fulbright Program. More than 370,000 people have participated in the program since it began; 59 Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes; 82 have won Pulitzer Prizes.