Our Role

The Fulbright Association serves as the unified voice of the Fulbright community in advocating for the program to the U.S. Congress. We pursue a strategic and non-partisan approach to advocacy at the local, national, and global levels.

Local

Through our chapters, we maintain an ongoing grassroots campaign that builds relationships with district and state offices for the House and Senate, respectively. This outreach includes visits to those offices as well as the extension of invitations for members to attend local events. Chapters also raise the profile of Fulbright locally through international education programs and outreach to regional media outlets.

National

Through the Fulbright Association’s national office, we build and sustain strong working relationships with Congressional offices and stakeholders in Washington, D.C. With a focus on key appropriations and authorizing committees, we educate members and their staffs on the impact of the Fulbright Program through regular visits and a yearly virtual Advocacy Month that connects Fulbright constituents to their representatives. The national office sets the overarching strategy and messaging for advocacy efforts, leads campaigns, and coordinates with partner organizations.

Global

While international alumni are not political constituents of the U.S. Congress, they have a powerful voice in sharing the impact of the Fulbright program. The national office works with Fulbright Commissions and alumni associations worldwide to magnify that voice by coordinating international participation in Advocacy Days, organizing petitions when needed, and gathering testimonials.

Strategy

The primary source of funding (approximately 65%) for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

Please return to this site regularly for updates and advocacy campaigns. Become a member or join our mailing list to receive updates directly. Your donations provide needed resources for our advocacy work, and we appreciate your continued support.

Act Now

Share our message, tell your story.

Write to Your Representative

Write to your members of the House and Senate to urge full funding of the Fulbright Program. Refer to the Fulbright Association's messaging guide and advocacy resources (below) for a framework for your letter, and focus on conveying the lasting impact of your Fulbright experience. Facebook Town Hall, House.gov, and Senate.gov can help you locate your representatives. International alumni can write to those representing their U.S. university by entering the zip code of that university.

Call Congress

In addition to writing, call your members of the House and Senate to urge full funding of the Fulbright Program. Be sure to provide your name and address so it can be verified that you reside in their district. Refer to our Advocacy Toolkit for resources to use when calling your member of Congress.

Write to Your Local Newspaper

Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to explain the value of the Fulbright Program. If your letter is published, share the link with us, forward the article to your members of the House and Senate, and post it to your social media accounts using the hashtag #StandForFulbright.

#StandForFulbright

Share your Fulbright story on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media with the hashtag #StandForFulbright. Follow the hashtag to read and react to the experiences of fellow Fulbright alumni, and continue to use our trademark #Fulbright hashtag on your posts, as well.

Tell Us Your Story

Our voice as advocates is strongest when we can share the collective and powerful experiences of Fulbright alumni with Congressional representatives. We invite you to write about your Fulbright experience and the meaning of international exchange in your life, and to share your story with our team. Fill out this form to participate in our storytelling campaign.

For international alumni:

Contact Your Ambassador

Contact the U.S. ambassador in your country, as well as your country's ambassador in Washington, D.C. Share your Fulbright experience, and educate them on the bilateral funding model of the Fulbright Program and the importance of international exchange programs.

Contact Your U.S. University President

Write to the president of the U.S. university with which you were affiliated during your Fulbright, urging them to advocate for full funding of the Fulbright Program with their state's representatives in Congress. Reflect on your experiences at their university and the lasting impact of international exchange and higher education.

Tell Us Your Story

We also welcome stories from international Fulbright alumni about the impact of their educational experience in the United States. We invite you to share your Fulbright story with our team by filling out this form.

Our Message

Direct outreach to Congressional representatives is a critical part of our advocacy strategy, and it is important to remain positive and non-partisan in all advocacy communications. We ask that you share our message and tell your story in your letters and phone calls to elected officials.

Restore and Strengthen the Fulbright Program at $403 million for FY 2023

($128m over $275m for FY 2022)

At this moment of conflict, unity among our allies, partners, and friends around the world is essential to security and stability. Today’s coordinated response to Russian aggression relies on critical, lasting bonds built on shared values, common experiences, and meaningful international friendships. They require trust, respect, and empathy.

How do we build, nurture, and sustain these important cross-national bonds?

The Fulbright Program has done this for 75 years. America’s signature exchange program has created a network of 400,000 foreign and American alumni united in their commitment to peace and prosperity through mutual understanding.

When foreign Fulbright scholars and students devote significant time in communities across America — spending their grants in local economies — they develop an affection and respect for the United States they carry all their lives. When American Fulbright grantees work and study overseas, they are citizen ambassadors, building good will and partnerships in 165 countries, often in strategic areas where locals never knew an American.

America should invest more fully in a program that underpins our international partnerships and advances security.

The Fulbright Association, representing 120,000 alumni across America, requests an appropriation of $403 million for the Fulbright Program for FY2023. This investment includes (a) $363m to restore funding to FY 2010 levels, which was followed by 12 years of flat funding, and (b) an additional $40m to make it stronger than ever. This level of funding will:

  • Energize American leadership in public diplomacy and global exchanges
  • Prompt and reward even more investment by 49 co-funding, partner countries (e.g., Germany, France, UK, Mexico), which contribute another $100m annually
  • Increase the number of grants, spreading the impact to more locations
  • Counter China’s strategic and significant investment in academic exchanges
  • Strengthen the value of individual grants to attract strong candidates
  • Provide more resources to recruit Americans who more fully represent us all, including persons with disabilities
  • Support global efforts to engage Fulbright alumni in furthering the Program’s work to create a world with a little more knowledge and a little less conflict
Thank you for supporting the Fulbright Program. Your Fulbright constituents will be (virtually) visiting, writing, and petitioning Capitol Hill in April. We will share our stories and impact then, but please contact the Fulbright Association anytime: advocacy@fulbright.org.

Resources

The resources compiled here are available to assist in your chapter and individual advocacy efforts on behalf of Fulbright.

For additional advocacy materials, or with any questions, please reach out to the Fulbright Association at advocacy@fulbright.org.

Fulbright Advocacy Month
Advocacy Toolkit