Celebrating 75 Years of Global Impact

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the renowned Fulbright program, an initiative dedicated to scholarship that promotes peace and collaboration on a global scale.

Eliana Chow - 26 November 2021

The University of Alberta also celebrates its 30th year of participation in the Fulbright program. During that time, the U of A has supported 60 research chairs and hundreds more faculty and students through more than a dozen Fulbright Canada exchange programs. The U of A currently hosts eight visiting research chairs, more than any other Canadian university. This network of brilliant minds and persevering peacemakers is leading the charge toward groundbreaking innovation across 140 countries and a vast variety of disciplines, from health sciences and government to education and the arts.

In recognition of the occasion, the U of A hosted a virtual celebration on November 9 that brought together noteworthy Fulbright leaders and scholars from across Canada and the U.S. Speakers emphasized the urgent need for greater collaboration amid the pandemic, ongoing environmental crisis, and social injustice. “We need coordinated responses to create innovations that address the roots of these problems and build a brighter future,” said President and Vice-Chancellor at University of Alberta Bill Flanagan in his opening remarks. “This work begins with the free exchange of ideas, fostering understanding, and building thought leaders — the cornerstones of the Fulbright program.”

The celebration also highlighted how the Fulbright program at U of A has strengthened ties between the U.S. and Canada. “We are building on that connection to advance issues of common concern,” noted Holly Waeger Monster, the U.S. Consul General in Calgary. “Our Fulbright scholars are focused on working in collaborative ways to implement real, positive change on issues that matter most to their communities.” 

Connections with the United States are without a doubt the most significant. In the past decade alone, our researchers have produced almost 25,000 publications in collaboration with thousands of U.S. scholars — and in collaboration with almost 1,400 organizations.

Almost 14,000 U of A alumni live in the U.S., and many of our faculty have studied and worked at U.S. universities. Along with more than a dozen Fulbright programs, these collaborations with the University of Alberta have advanced virtually every area of research and teaching — from health to education, business to Indigenous rights, and agriculture to engineering  

Following the introduction of the U of A’s seven new 2021-2022 Fulbright Canada visiting research chairs, participants heard from two current Fulbright scholars on their ongoing research. Dr. Andy Knight, Fulbright Canada Distinguished Chair in International and Area Studies at Yale University, is examining the shifting international political landscape as the U.S. loses its status as lone global hegemon. His research seeks to determine how other nations should navigate this social and economic power shift, especially as the challenges of the pandemic continue to require global collaboration.

Dr. Jane Kolodinsky, Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, documented her study of the emerging hemp textile industry in the U.S. Although hemp production was banned for decades, its reemergence presents a prime opportunity for research on new product adoption and plant-based alternatives to meat production.

Across the board, the hour-long program was rich with gratitude for the past and ripe with hope for the future. “As we celebrate 30 years together, we look forward to continuing this highly productive partnership far into the future,” President Flanagan concluded. “Together we will continue to foster the important relationship between Canada and the U.S. while building a more open and just world for everyone.”

One of the objectives of the virtual event was to enhance the profile of the Fulbright program--and its many opportunities--to an audience that consisted largely of U of A faculty members and graduate students. The call for applications for the Fulbright Research Chair Program will open up in February of 2022.