Harriet Fulbright

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Harriet Fulbright
President, Fulbright Center
New York, United States

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Having heard these young people speak, I feel more hopeful. I feel extraordinarily grateful for these young people and their stories and their working together. I think is a tremendously hopeful sign.

Biography: Harriet Mayor Fulbright is President of the J. William & Harriet Fulbright Center, a non-profit organization which serves to advance the work of Ms. Fulbright’s late husband, Senator J. William Fulbright, and to continue her own lifework. The purpose of the Fulbright Center is threefold: to spread the recognition of the Fulbright legacy, to globalize education and to promote world peace and nonviolent means of resolving conflicts through international collaborations and education programs. The Fulbright Center partners with higher education institutions and interested individuals (students, teachers, scholars, and leaders) throughout the world in a range of services from assisting in building enriched study abroad programs to actively engaging higher education institutions in international peace making.

Ms. Fulbright has spent the majority of her adult life in the fields of education and the arts. From 1997 until 2000 she was the Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, whose mission is to encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to enhance cultural life in America. Prior to this position she served as an ‘’Unofficial Ambassador’’ for the 50th anniversary of the Fulbright Program and in that capacity she traveled to numerous countries on all five major continents and all over the United States to speak about the importance of international education exchange and the pivotal role played by the Fulbright Program.

Her teaching experience is extensive. While living in Korea she taught English composition and creative writing at Ewha Women’s University, and in Moscow taught non-English speaking first graders to speak, read and write English. In the United States she taught art at several institutions, including American University and the Maret School where she was elected ‘Teacher of the Year’ in 1980.

Her administrative experience is also wide ranging. When the Congressional Arts Caucus was formed on Capitol Hill she was its first Assistant Director, and she was later appointed Executive Secretary of the International Congress of Art Historians at the National Gallery’s Center for the Advanced Study in the Arts. In 1987 she became the Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, where she served for 3 years, moving it from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Washington DC and giving it more visibility and professionalism. From 1990 to 1996 she was President of the Center for Arts in the Basic Curriculum, an organization which advocated education reform and conducted teacher training seminars.

For the last decade her lecture tours have been worldwide. She has been invited to give talks on such diverse topics as the vital role of international education exchange, arts education and its importance, the life of Senator J. William Fulbright, and leadership and human progress.

Ms. Fulbright has a BA from Radcliffe College and an MFA from the George Washington University. She has also received Honorary Degrees: a Doctorate in Law from William & Mary College and the University of Scranton, Doctorates in Humane Letters from Long Island University, Arcadia University, the Bank Street College of Education, Pace University, and the University for Development Studies in Ghana; and a Doctorate in Philosophy and Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology. She was inducted as an Honorary Bennett Fellow of the School of International Studies, Oklahoma State University. Panama presented her with its highest civilian award ‘El Orden de Manuel Amador Guerrero’ and the Republic of Hungary gave her a similar honor – the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit. Ms. Fulbright was awarded the Order of Australia by the Governor-General of Australia, for service to educational and cultural exchange between Australia and the United States.

She also serves on a number of boards, including the International Foreign Policy Center and the Wendy and Emory Reves Center for International Studies of William and Mary College where she is chairman; the Academy of Educational Development, and the National Board of Certified Counselors. Ms. Fulbright shared with her late husband a dedication to the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts throughout the world.