Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quotes by U.S. Presidents on the Importance of International Exchanges and the Fulbright Program


Recently I posted to IHEC Blog on “National and International Leaders who were Fulbright Alumni” which I found in the abbreviated version of the Fulbright at Fifty publication that is hosted on the National Humanities Center website. Last night while I was doing some research for my dissertation I revisited the Fulbright at Fifty publication and discovered quotes by Presidents Truman through Clinton (as the Fulbright Program turned fifty during the Clinton Administration) on the importance of international exchanges and the Fulbright Program and I thought I would share them with IHEC Blog readers. To bring the list of quotes up to date I found and added quotes by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama:

“…This program is vitally important in widening the knowledge and technical ability of the peoples of the twelve participating countries…”
Harry S. Truman, Letter to the Chairman, board of Foreign Scholarships, on the Fulbright Program, May 11, 1951.

“…the exchange of students…should be vastly expanded…Information and education are powerful forces in support of peace. Just as war begins in the minds of men, so does peace.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the Smith-Mundt Act, January 27, 1958.

“I am delighted to sign the new Fulbright-Hays Act. This ceremony has historic significance because it marks full recognition by the Congress of the importance of a more comprehensive program of educational and cultural activities as a component of our foreign relations…”
John F. Kennedy, remarks upon signing the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act, September 21, 1961.

“…International education cannot be the work of one country. It is the responsibility and promise of all nations. It calls for free exchange and full collaboration…The knowledge of our citizens is one treasure which grows only when it is shared.”
Lyndon B. Johnson, message to Congress in February, 1966, on international education.

“This report…is largely devoted to an aspect of the program too often overlooked…the extraordinary…cooperation and assistance…from United States private groups…This private cooperation…gives the program its essential character and effectiveness…”
Richard M. Nixon, message to Congress, June 15, 1970.

“The spirit of seeking understanding through personal contact with people of other nations and other cultures deserves the respect and support of all.”
Gerald R. Ford, remarks to foreign exchange students, July 13, 1976.

“,,,I think one of the wonderful things about the program which you represent is its contribution to the barriers (of culture, events, religion, and ethics) having been broken down…”
Jimmy Carter, at Fulbright ceremony in Hungary in 1996.

“There is a flickering spark in us all which, if struck at just the right age…can light the rest of our lives, elevating our ideals, deepening our tolerance, and sharpening our appetite for knowledge about the rest of the world. Educational and cultural exchanges…provide a perfect opportunity for this precious spark to grow, making us more sensitive and wiser international citizens through our careers.”
Ronald Reagan, The White House, May 1982.

“International exchanges are not a great tide to sweep away all differences, but they will slowly wear away at the obstacles to peace as surely as water wears away a hard stone.”
George H.W. Bush, 1989.

“No one who has lived through the second half of the 20th century could possibly be blind to the enormous impact of exchange programs on the future of countries…”
Bill Clinton, May, 1993.

“…By studying foreign cultures and languages and living abroad, we gain a better understanding of the many similarities that we share and learn to respect our differences. The relationships that are formed between individuals from different countries, as part of international education programs and exchanges, can also foster goodwill that develops into vibrant, mutually beneficial partnerships among nations.”
George W. Bush, International Education Week 2001 Message, The White House, November 13, 2001.

“Simple exchanges can break down walls between us, for when people come together and speak to one another and share a common experience, then their common humanity is revealed. We are reminded that we're joined together by our pursuit of a life that's productive and purposeful, and when that happens mistrust begins to fade and our smaller differences no longer overshadow the things that we share. And that's where progress begins.”
Barack Obama, remarks at student roundtable in Istanbul, Turkey, April 7, 2009.

Quotes from Presidents Truman through Clinton were obtained directly from: U.S. Presidents on International Exchanges and the Fulbright Program, http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/fbright/presiden.htm, part of the Fulbright at Fifty website hosted by the National Humanities Center, http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/

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