Press Release

IIE and the United Nations Announce the UN Fellowship Program for International Fulbright Students

NEW YORK, December 3, 2002 - The Institute of International Education (IIE) and the United Nations announce the UN Fulbright Fellowship Program, a new professional opportunity for up to 20 students from developing countries and selected countries of Eastern Europe who are currently studying in the United States as Fulbright Fellows. Drawing on the United Nations' professional networks and the Fulbright Program's roster of future leaders from around the world, this new program will provide a formative experience to some of the world's best and brightest students who can contribute to the advancement of the UN's work, learn from UN staff, and gain valuable professional experience. The UN Fulbright Fellowship Program is funded by a grant from the United Nations Foundation/Better World Fund. The program will help to build new sources of UN leadership, furthering the power of the Fulbright Program to educate leaders and lay the foundation for global problem solving.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Patricia S. Harrison, who leads the Bureau in the U.S. Department of State which sponsors the worldwide Fulbright program in collaboration with the presidentially-appointed J.William Fulbright Scholarship Board and more than 140 foreign partner governments, welcomed this initiative. "The United Nations and the Institute of International Education have developed a unique opportunity that further enhances the place of the Fulbright program as the premier leadership development exchange for the upcoming generation" she said, "and allows the select Fulbright students to immediately assume positions of responsibility as they begin their careers building mutual understanding and mutual respect."

Fulbright students from developing countries and East Central Europe/Newly Independent States will be invited to apply to begin fellowships with the United Nations in summer 2003. Students will participate in this career-enhancing program for up to six months after completing their Fulbright academic work in the United States and before returning to their home countries, and they will receive a stipend for their work. The program includes a two-day orientation in New York City, electronic networking activities throughout the fellowship, a student-led wrap-up symposium in New York City, and follow-on activities to keep participants connected after the program's conclusion. The Institute of International Education will collect and review applications, and selection will be made by the United Nations.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, has given full support to the program, which, he said, "has the potential to provide the Organization with specialized expertise and to build support for the work of the United Nations among key global constituencies."

According to IIE president Allan E. Goodman, "One of the keys to leadership development is the synergy that is created when Fulbright students have the opportunity to meet, to exchange views and ideas, and to learn from other leaders in a global context. The new UN Fulbright Fellowship Program exemplifies the leadership training elements and the public-private partnerships that make the Fulbright Program unique." IIE works to provide leadership development opportunities such as Fulbright Enrichment Seminars and Fulbright Convocations to Fulbright students and faculty throughout the country.

"We are proud that the UN Foundation/Better World Fund's partnership with IIE and the UN will help make it possible to allow the best and the brightest scholars from the developing world to contribute their valuable knowledge and experience to the United Nations and to take away a deeper understanding and appreciation of the UN and its important work," said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation/Better World Fund. "By capitalizing upon the strengths of the Fulbright Program and marrying it with the needs of the UN, the UN Fulbright Fellowship Program will help broaden the base of the next generation of UN leaders and advocates for global cooperation."

The Fulbright Program, the United States' premier educational exchange program, is an effective and prestigious form of public diplomacy, strengthening understanding and communication between the United States and over 140 nations. IIE has administered the Fulbright Program for the U.S. Department of State since its inception over 50 years ago. The Program has enriched the lives of over 225,000 men and women, brought some of the world's finest minds to U.S. campuses, and offered the future leaders of scores of foreign countries an insight into U.S. society and values. The Fulbright Program enables more than 5,000 students and faculty each year to study, teach, or conduct research outside of their home countries. They bring an essential international perspective to U.S. higher education, business, and government sectors and make an invaluable contribution to the understanding of the United States overseas.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. Its expertise enables institutions and individuals to build capacity in their home countries and regions. IIE designs and implements over 200 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright Student and Scholar programs and the Humphrey Fellowships, administered for the Department of State, and the Development Training II project administered for the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as corporate training and scholarship programs. IIE also conducts policy research and provides advice and counseling on international educational opportunities abroad. The Institute of International Education has a network of 19 offices worldwide, over 720 college and university members, and more than 5,000 volunteers. Information about IIE can be obtained from IIE's website or by e-mail at

The United Nations Foundation and its sister organization, the Better World Fund, were established in 1998 to administer R.E. Turner's unprecedented gift of $1 billion to support the United Nations and its causes. The UN Foundation provides grants to UN Agencies, Funds, and Programmes for work in the areas of Women and Population; Children's Health; the Environment; Peace, Security, and Human Rights; and works to bring other private sector parties together in partnership. The Better World Fund complements the work of the UN Foundation through support of selected programs designed to raise awareness about the vital role of the UN and promote international engagement with and through the UN.


Media Contact

Sharon Witherell
Director, Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5380

Shana Childs
Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5360

IIE Experts

IIE experts on international education are available for interviews or speaking engagements.

Dr. Allan E. Goodman
President and CEO

Peggy Blumenthal 
Senior Counselor to the President