Fulbright students arrive in New York on the Independence, 1955.
Courtesy of Pipinopoulou-Panourgia Archives.

Fulbright Foundation Greece: Decades of Educational Pioneering

Posted Portes Magazine FOUNDATION
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“Education is a slow-moving but powerful force. It may not be fast enough or strong enough to save us from catastrophe, but it is the strongest force available.” J. William Fulbright.

{The U.S.-based Institute of International Education (IIE) recently launched the campaign “Generation Study Abroad,” aiming to double the number of U.S. students studying in another country over the next five years. As a hub for dozens of study abroad programs, Greece welcomes over 3,300 U.S. students every year, and is one of the top 10 academic destinations in Europe, according to the IIE. Portes Magazine examines the importance of educational exchange programs with Artemis Zenetou, Executive Director of Fulbright Foundation in Greece, highlighting the history of one of the longest running exchange programs between Greece and the U.S.}

Celebrating 66 years in existence this year, Fulbright Foundation in Greece is one of the largest and longest running educational exchange programs supported dually by the United States Government and the Hellenic Republic of Greece. The program awards over 50 educational grants annually for American and Greek citizens to pursue research or studies in each other’s country.

Aside from providing a unique educational experience for individual grantees, Fulbright Foundation at large emphasizes the significance of cultural exchange and mutual understanding that arises from living and interacting with people in another country.

“It is vital to be able to understand differences of another culture,” Zenetou says. “Even if you do not accept them, acknowledging them is very important. Ignorance is still very dangerous and studying abroad is another way we learn about the world.”

From its inception in 1948, Fulbright Greece has awarded about 5,000 grants to U.S. and Greek citizens to study, lecture, and conduct research through an educational exchange program. Greece is actually the oldest continuously running Fulbright program established in Europe, and the second worldwide, Zenetou notes.

“It is still a very dynamic program,” she says. “What was significant 66 years ago is also significant today, and this is exemplified through the Generation Study Abroad campaign whose main focus is to send more young U.S. students to study abroad an understand another culture.”

With a deep-rooted history in promoting education, Fulbright Greece continues to serve the cultural exchange initiative through a variety of grants that support independent research, English language teaching, artist development, and educational training, among other activities.

“To be awarded a Fulbright scholarship is to join an elite group of individuals who represent the best in their fields and who embody the spirit of education and global understanding,” David D. Pearce, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, says. “We all know that Greece is currently going through some very challenging economic times. It is precisely at times like these that we need to reaffirm our commitment to academic excellence and educational exchange.”

Continue reading the full-length feature here.