U.S. higher education program marks 30 years in Zimbabwe

Harare, October, 2012: The Fulbright Program, the United States of America’s flagship international education program, will mark 30 years of exchange in Zimbabwe with a celebration on Thursday.  The U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section and the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association (ZUSAA) will host a seminar Thursday afternoon followed by a reception at the Celebration Centre in Harare.

“The Fulbright Program has connected our two countries for 30 years in one of the most important ways possible – through the creation of knowledge and professional skills, as well as through a shared belief in educating the next generation,” says Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Harare. “This year, we are celebrating the many great academics who participated in the program in the past, as well as encouraging tomorrow’s researchers, teachers and professionals to seek out international exchange as a means to building the country’s potential.”

The three hour seminar presentation in Harare will highlight the successes of Zimbabweans who have participated in the Fulbright program and brought their experiences back home. They include government officials, business leaders and academics. Since its inception in Zimbabwe in 1982, the program has enabled over 200 Zimbabweans to further their studies in the U.S. and approximately 100 Americans to come to Zimbabwe.

“The Fulbright program not only offers Zimbabweans opportunities to undertake studies abroad, it also has a wide range of capacity building which includes bringing experts to support our varied development initiatives,” noted Sekai Holland, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office. From 1983-85, Minister Holland completed a Fulbright grant pursuing a Masters of Science degree in Agricultural Journalism at the University of Wisconsin.

Globally, the Fulbright Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide and has provided approximately 318,000 participants with the opportunity to study, teach, or conduct research in each others’ countries and exchange ideas. Approximately 8,000 grants are awarded annually. There are currently 18 Zimbabwean Fulbright scholars pursuing PhD study in the U.S. in a wide range of fields such as natural resources management, virology, biotechnology, applied mathematics, media & journalism studies and population studies.

The statutory program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1946 and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which works with private non-profit organizations in the United States and with U.S. embassies and bi-national Fulbright Commissions abroad to administer the Program.

Fulbright programs are varied. They include, but not limited to, the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program which provides young teachers of English as a Foreign Language the opportunity to refine their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of American culture and customs while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at colleges and universities in the United States.

The International Fulbright Science and Technology Award supports doctoral study at leading U.S. institutions in science, technology, engineering or related fields for outstanding foreign students. The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program brings outstanding mid-career professionals from countries in states of development or transition to the United States for highly tailored programs of non-degree, graduate study and professional development.  Fellowships are awarded in a range of public policy and social science related fields.  The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars and professionals to approximately 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.