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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 22, 2003


Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage Announces Reestablishment of Fulbright Program in Iraq

2003/1075

Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage yesterday announced the reestablishment of the Fulbright Program with Iraq, 14 years after the program was last in operation in that country. The announcement, which followed a similar announcement by Ambassador L. Paul Bremer in Baghdad, was made at the U.S. Department of State, with diplomats from the region, university officials and international exchange organization representatives attending. Deputy Secretary Armitage noted, "Iraq is the birthplace of education. It is, after all, where both the written word and arithmetic were first discovered." Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Patricia Harrison commented that, "After meeting with university presidents who represent the 12 major universities in Iraq last month, I am extremely pleased that we were able to announce the re-establishment of the Fulbright program in Iraq in such a rapid manner."

The reestablished program is set to begin in 2004, and will initially be supported by $1 million for 2004 scholarships. The Department of State anticipates that the initial group of grantees will number at least 20 students. The students will take masters level coursework at American universities in fields that will be of greatest assistance in the rebuilding of democratic society in Iraq, such as higher education, law, public administration, business, economics, and public health, in addition to other scientific, social science and humanities fields. The initial students, who may begin to arrive in the United States as early as January of 2004, will come to the U.S. for periods of 18 months to 2 years.

The scholarships will be merit-based. Fulbright program officials will work closely with Iraqi university leaders and officials from the Coalition Provisional Authority to design scholarship opportunities that serve the mutual interests of Iraq and the U.S.

The program in Iraq is expected to expand in the future to include scholars from Iraq, who will come to the United States for periods of several months for lecturing, research and reconnecting with counterparts in the U.S. academic community. Opportunities for U.S. scholars will be available initially on a limited basis for short-term opportunities later in 2004.

Fulbright is the American people's premier international scholarship program, established in 1946 to build mutual understanding. It is funded through an annual appropriation from Congress as well as through contributions from partner governments and the private sector and administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Released on October 22, 2003

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