Aug 1, 1946  President Truman signed the Fulbright Program into law, establishing the scholarships named for Arkansas Sen. William J. Fulbright.

James W. Fulbright (National Vanguard)

After WWII, Senator J. William Fulbright proposed that the U.S. government sell surplus war property to fund an international exchange program. In his bill, debts accrued by foreign governments during WWII would be discharged in return for funding an international educational program.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program provides competitive scholarships for international educational exchange of students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists. Under the program, competitively selected American citizens can receive scholarships to study, conduct research, or pursue their special talents abroad. Additionally, foreigners may qualify to pursue the same activities in the U.S.

Notable Fulbright scholars include: many heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, MacArthur Foundation fellows and Pulitzer Prize winners.