Exactly 60 years ago today, on March 19, 1960, the Fulbright Commission in Portugal was created, by the signature of a diplomatic agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Portugal, to administer the Fulbright Program in Portugal, with the purpose of promoting mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries through educational and cultural exchanges.

Since its foundation, nearly 3000 Portuguese and American students and scholars have been awarded Grants by the Fulbright Commission in a large variety of academic fields.

Fostering academic and cultural exchange of Portuguese and American students, scholars and researchers through the Fulbright Program has had a real impact on people’s lives and careers over these six decades.

Fulbright creates connections in a complex and changing world, offering programs for passionate and accomplished students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds. These Fulbrighters enrich their educations, advance their careers—and make meaningful contributions abroad and at home. Upon returning to their home countries, institutions, or classrooms, they share their stories and often continue the work they started abroad—and join thousands of alumni serving as leaders across the globe.

When we started planning the commemoration of the Commission 60th Anniversary there was no way we could have imagined that in 19th March 2020 the world we all share would be facing an unprecedent and extremely difficult situation we find ourselves in. The current pandemic, however, shall be defeated the only way global challenges can be overtaken, through international cooperation, the same cooperation the Fulbright Program has been fostering and inspiring since its creation.

A time will come in the near future for us to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Fulbright Commission in Portugal, to highlight and recognize the achievements of its alumni community, gathered in events and activities organized on both sides of the Atlantic.

Until such time arrives, the safety and wellbeing of our grantees must be our number one concern and the focus of our work.

Let us all feed on hope, mutual support and understanding and be inspired by Senator Fulbright words – “We must try to expand the boundaries of human wisdom, empathy and perception, and there is no way of doing that except through education.”

Otília Macedo Reis
Executive Director
Fulbright Commission – Commission for Educational Exchange between the USA and Portugal