Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 358–372 | Cite as

Ambassadors unaware: the Fulbright Program and American public diplomacy

  • Molly BettieEmail author
Regular paper


The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship educational and cultural exchange activity, has been a much celebrated part of US public diplomacy since 1946. This study examines a tension that has persisted throughout the history of the Fulbright Program between America’s information activities and educational-cultural activities. The crisis moments of three bureaucratic reorganisations illustrate this debate: the 1953 establishment of the US Information Agency (USIA), the 1978 creation of the US International Communication Agency and the 1999 closure of the USIA. At each of these moments, the purpose and nature of the Fulbright Program came under scrutiny. An analysis of archival and secondary material reveal the mutually reinforcing relationship between the diplomatic and educational-cultural elements of the programme.


educational exchange public diplomacy Fulbright Program intercultural communication 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Media and CommunicationUniversity of LeedsUK

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