The Fulbright Canada Award for Outstanding Public Service

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J William Fulbright was a statesman, a lawyer, a university president, and a Rhodes Scholar. He was a member of the United States Senate from 1945 to 1975, representing the state of Arkansas, and the longest serving chairman in the history of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among other things, he profoundly believed that enhanced mutual understanding would lead to continued peace and prosperity. His efforts in this area resulted in the establishment of a major international exchange and academic fellowship program that bears his name, the Fulbright Program.

"The preservation of our free society … will depend ultimately on whether we succeed or fail in directing the enormous power of human knowledge to the enrichment of our own lives and the shaping of a rational and civilized world order. It is the task of education, more than any other instrument of foreign policy to help close the dangerous gap between the economic and technological interdependence of the people of the world and their psychological, political and spiritual alienation."

J. William Fulbright, Prospects for the West, Harvard University Press, 1963

The Fulbright Canada Award for Outstanding Public Service

The Fulbright Canada Award, established by the Board of Directors of the Foundation in the fall of 2012, honors the largest and most significant educational and cultural exchange program in history, as well as thecareer and spirit of its creator, the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The award recognizes and rewards outstanding contributions by individuals or organizations toward bringing peoples, cultures, and nations to a greater understanding of each other. It further recognizes the role that these individuals and organizations play in addressing the most challenging problems facing contemporary society.

The inaugural Fulbright Canada award winner, the Right Honourable David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada, was announced at a special ceremony in Calgary in May of 2013. 

This prestigious award will be presented to individuals and/or organizations who have made a significant commitment to the public good, whose ideas and actions reflect the values and priorities of Senator Fulbright, and whose leadership and accomplishments have resulted in significant benefits for the citizens of Canada, the United States, and beyond.

Recipients of this award will have promoted new ideas, encouraged open discussion, supported academic and intercultural exchange, and provided, through their words and deeds, a model for mutual understanding, increased prosperity, and social justice.

The Fulbright Canada Award for Outstanding Public Service reflects the values of the Fulbright Program and represents a clear statement with respect to our enduring commitment to social responsibility and our firm belief that vibrant public sector – private sector partnerships are critical to our collective future.

While the award carries no cash value, the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States of America will award a special Fulbright scholarship to an extraordinary graduate student in the name of Fulbright Award recipient. The scholarship will go to a student who is working in an area that reflects the particular interests and priorities of the Fulbright Canada Award recipient.

The Fulbright Program / Fulbright Canada

On August 1, 1946, President Harry Truman enacted legislation authorizing the international scholarship program bearing the name of Senator J. William Fulbright. Now, some sixty-five years later, Senator Fulbright's dream is a powerful reality. With more than 300,000 Fulbright alumni in some 155 countries, the Fulbright program is the gold standard in academic exchange, a serious arbiter of intellectual capabilities, the world leader in public diplomacy, and a champion of diversity and social justice.

The Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States of America (aka Fulbright Canada) is a bi-national, treaty-based, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization with a mandate to identify the best and brightest minds in both countries and engage them in residential academic exchange and an integral part of the worldwide Fulbright Program. Fulbright Canada provides support to students, scholars, teachers, and independent researchers through a variety of programs that are open to individuals in all academic fields. These individuals conduct research, lecture, or enroll in formal academic programs in the other country. In doing so, Fulbright Canada aims to grow intellectual capacity, increase productivity, support community development, and assist in the shaping of future leaders.

Further Information

Recipients of the Fulbright Canada Award for Outstanding Public Service will be citizens of Canada or the United States. They will be exceptional individuals or organizations drawn from the public sector, the academic community, the private sector, and civil society.

The award will be presented biennially at a special ceremony held on a rotating basis between major cities in Canada and the United States. Ideally, a Canadian citizen or organization will be selected for recognition at the Canadian ceremony and a citizen or organization in the United States of America will be selected for recognition at the American ceremony.

The Foundation will accept nominations from interested parties for the Fulbright Canada Award on an ongoing basis, with nominators responsible for making the case for their candidate. The selection of recipients will be determined by an ad hoc committee of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

For detailed information on this award and the process, please contact Martha Vrany, at or 613.688.5521.

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