"Our future is not in the stars but in our minds and hearts. Creative leadership and liberal education, which in fact go together, are the first requirements for a hopeful future for humankind. Fostering these – leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures – was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program that I was privileged to sponsor in the U.S. Senate over forty years ago. Its is a modest program with an immodest aim – the achievement in international affairs of a regime more civilized, rational, and humane than the empty system of power of the past. I believed in that possibility when I began. I still do."
J. William Fulbright, The Price of Empire, 1989, page xi
To answer a question in the comments section of the last post: According to the State Department, the congressional appropriation for the entire Fulbright Program for 2005 was $144.5 million. Foreign governments contributed an additional $37 million directly to the Program. According to the German-American Fulbright Commission's annual report for 2003-2004 (page 7), the German government contributed 4.2 million Euro and the US government contributed 2.4 million Euro to the US-German Fulbright Programme's budget. The Association of Friends and Sponsors of the German-American Fulbright Program donated 78,000 Euro. This annual report also quotes Alison Kamhi, a US Fulbright grantee at the University of Rostock and originally from Stanford University:
Being one of the few Americans in Rostock, I took it as my job to provide the Germans in this city with a positive example of an American. Every time I was challenged about Bush or the war in Iraq or consumerism or whatever I took the time to talk to the person, simply to show that all Americans are not anti-European war-mongers, as is unfortunately often the stereotype. Volunteering at so many social organizations, I got the opportunity to answer questions from children, immigrants, or elderly Germans about the United States and our culture and politics, and I enjoyed being a representative of another side of America than what gets portrayed in the media.
Former Foreign Minister Fischer described the significance and purpose of Fulbright exchanges as well as Senator Fulbright's legacy at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the German American Fulbright Program in 2002: His speech in German. The English translation. More than 40,000 Americans and Germans received a Fulbright grant since 1952. According to the State Department, "approximately 267,500 'Fulbrighters,' 100,900 from the United States and 166,600 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception over fifty years ago. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 6,000 new grants annually."
In his autobiography My Life, Bill Clinton wrote about Senator Fulbrights's book "The Arrogance of Power" (1966) (USA-Amazon.com) (Deutsches Amazon.de):
Fulbright's essential argument was that great nations get into trouble and can go into long-term decline when they are "arrogant" in the use of their power, trying to do things they shouldn't do in places they shouldn't be. He was suspicious of any foreign policy rooted in missionary zeal, which he felt would cause us to drift into commitments "which though generous and benevolent in content, are so far reaching as to exceed even America's great capacitities." He also thought that when we brought our power to bear in the service of an abstract concept, like anti-communism, without understanding local history, culture, and politics we could do more harm than good.
Joe Kristensen, president of the Fulbright Alumni e.V., has compiled several quotes from The Arrogance of Power. One of them is:
Freedom of thought and discussion gives a democracy two concrete advantages over a dictatorship in the making of foreign policy: it diminishes the danger of an irretrievable mistake and it introduces ideas and opportunities that otherwise would not come to light. (...) In addition to its usefulness of redeeming error and introducing new ideas, free and open criticism has a third, more abstract but no less important function in a democracy: it is therapy and catharsis for those who are troubled by something their country is doing; it helps to reassert traditional values, to clear the air when it is full of tension and mistrust. There are times in public life as in private life when one must protest, note solely of even primarily because ones's protest will be politic or materilally productive, but because one's sense of decency is offended, because one is fed up with political craft and public images, or simply because something goes against the grain.
Joe has recommended this book and provided more quotes in the October 2003 issue of the Atlantic Review.