Cowen: IR£1 million for Educational Exchange
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., announced today that the Government will give IR£1 million over the next five years to the Ireland - United States Commission for Educational Exchange (the Fulbright Commission).
The Commission has responsibility for the implementation of the Fulbright programme in Ireland, the aim of which is to finance and allocate research and study scholarships, and to promote other educational activities between Ireland and the United States.
In making the announcement, the Minister said, "I am delighted to be in a position to provide further funding for the operation of the Fulbright Programme. I believe it is important to maintain the momentum created by President Clinton's visit to Ireland and to strengthen the close links between both countries. The additional funding will enable the Commission to increase the number of scholarships given to Irish students to study in the United States.
"I would also like to thank the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Mike Sullivan, for his on-going support for the work of the Commission along with the members of the Commission itself who will continue to play an important part in promoting mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Ireland."
Background Note for editors
The Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (IUSCEE)
1. The Ireland United-States Commission for Educational Exchange, known as the Fulbright Commission, administers the Fulbright scholarship and fellowship programme between Ireland and the United States of America.
2. For more than fifty years educational exchanges between the United States of America and other countries have taken place under the auspices of the Fulbright Programme. Named after US Senator J. William Fulbright (1905-1995), who sponsored the original legislation proposing the exchanges in 1946, the Fulbright Programme has aimed to encourage mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills.
3. The Fulbright Programme operates in more than 140 countries, and more than 200,000 leaders in government, the media, the arts and the academic community worldwide have shared in the experience of being Fulbrighters. Individuals are selected on the basis of academic or professional qualifications and potential, as well as the ability and willingness to share ideas and experiences with people of diverse cultures.
4. The Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange administers the Fulbright Programme in Ireland. The Commission finances studies, research and other educational and cultural activities between Ireland and the United States. It offers grants to Irish postgraduate students and to postdoctoral academic staff to undertake research and/or lecture in the United States, and invites their US equivalents to lecture and to carry out research in Ireland. Support is also given to conferences and other meetings to promote mutual understanding between Ireland and the United States. To date there have been over 450 Irish beneficiaries of the Programme. In 1995 the Irish Fulbright Alumni Association was founded. It can be contacted through the Commission.
5. The Fulbright Commission consists of eight members, four Irish citizens and four US citizens, appointed for a two-year term by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland, respectively.
6. Grants are awarded to Irish citizens by competition, following an interview in Dublin. These enable third-level academic staff to spend up to one year in the United States, and enable students to undertake postgraduate study or research in the United States.