Diversity and Inclusion
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the United States Department of State strives to ensure that its programs reflect and value the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. The Bureau seeks and encourages the involvement of people from traditionally underrepresented audiences in all its grants, programs and other activities, as well as in its workforce and workplace. Opportunities are open to people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Bureau is committed to fairness, equity, and inclusion.
We are heartened to see so many speaking out to shape a more positive vision for their communities around the world.
We are using this moment to better translate our core values into action. This is not an exhaustive list, but a public step towards putting into practice additional policies and initiatives to better support Black Fulbrighters and other underrepresented communities.
We will work to create additional inclusive trainings and resources, and to elevate the voices of Black Fulbrighters and staff.
In partnership with Fulbright Commissions around the world, we are working to increase bias awareness and mitigation training for staff, in order to identify ways in which Black and other POC applicants and grantees experience discrimination and how these participants can best be supported. We will do this in collaboration with regional diversity and inclusion officers and regional or country-specific initiatives undertaken by Fulbright Commissions and other partners. We also commit to expanding our programming on inclusion and allyship at Fulbright pre-departure orientations and other enrichment activities.
On our Fulbright social media accounts, web presence, and other fora, we will continue to share stories of Fulbrighters with a focus on their identities and experiences abroad. We commit to amplifying more voices of Black Fulbrighters, understanding that their experiences of life abroad, in academia, and other spaces help us develop a greater understanding of the United States and the world and help to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.
We and Fulbright partners, such as Commissions, are conducting listening sessions, receiving feedback, and having informal conversations with program staff, participants, alumni, and partners.
We will deepen and expand our partnerships with organizations and associations that can assist us with our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and help us achieve our mission.
Fulbright Outreach Partners are a diverse network of leadership organizations, minority-serving associations, and professional institutes. These value-aligned partners are important in assisting us promote the Fulbright Program by identifying and advising highly motivated, open-minded people, with a strong interest in promoting the Fulbright Program’s mission.
We will continue to further the U.S. State Department’s long-standing commitment to build diversity and inclusion within the Fulbright Program, and within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' international exchange programs, in partnership with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and a constellation of others. One example of how Fulbright highlights its strong partnerships and engagement with the HBCU community is the HBCU Institutional Leaders Initiative, which celebrates and promotes the relationship between the Fulbright Program and HBCUs, and encourages all HBCUs to use the Fulbright Program as a way to provide students, faculty, administrators, and alumni with opportunities to enhance their careers, while at the same time internationalizing HBCU campuses and communities.
We will provide information and share our progress.
Using our listening sessions, meetings, and feedback from our Black and other POC Fulbrighters, we will continue to identify and implement steps to promote the well-being of Black and other POC applicants, participants, and alumni. These efforts will consider the full exchange continuum, including the application, selection and placement process, the exchange experience, re-entry and return home, and alumni engagement.
We look forward to continuing the conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion via FulbrightCommitment@fulbrightmail.org.
Policy on Fulbright Affinity Groups
Policy on Fulbright Affinity Groups: The Bureau recognizes that affinity groups have the potential to provide valuable contributions to Fulbright grantees and their exchange experience. While these activities are not funded by, or officially associated with, the Bureau’s Office of Academic Exchange Programs, which manages the Fulbright Program, affinity groups are currently playing an important role in:
- helping to recruit candidates who reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad
- helping to engage exchange program alumni as ambassadors for the program
- serving as a forum for Fulbright participants, applicants, and alumni to ask targeted questions, seek mentorship, develop ideas, and share recommendations
- helping to fulfill the mission of the Fulbright Program
- helping to foster diversity and inclusion in the Fulbright Program
We appreciate the work of those active in affinity groups and other groups that support the Fulbright experience and/or engage with program alumni, grantees, and prospective candidates, along with program stakeholders and supporters.
ECA recognizes these groups as being founded by, with, and for grantees and alumni. In order to be equitable and inclusive of all such groups, ECA will maintain a policy of non-endorsement of specific affinity groups. As always, members of affinity groups, along with all other Fulbright alumni, are encouraged to:
- share their experiences
- apply for open calls for funding through the International Exchange Alumni community, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies and Consulates, and other public, private, and non-profit sources
- form and maintain a digital presence on relevant sites such as the Fulbrighter networking platform and on social media; however, a statement must be included which explains that the group is self-governed and not officially associated with the Fulbright Program or ECA.
- contact relevant stakeholders, including the Office of Academic Exchange Programs / Fulbright Program, Fulbright Commissions, Public Affairs Sections at U.S. Embassies and Consulates, Fulbright program implementing partners (including the Institute of International Education (IIE), World Learning, AMIDEAST, and Laspau), and the U.S. Fulbright Association and other Fulbright alumni associations, with questions, recommendations, or ideas.