September 14, 2015
On September 10, U.S. Ambassador Michael McKinley hosted a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in honor of recently selected candidates and alumni of the Fulbright academic exchange program. Fulbright is one the most prestigious U.S. government programs, awarding highly competitive scholarships to participants from more than 165 countries to pursue Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Since 2003, 450 Afghans have participated in the program. Fulbright alumni worldwide include 53 Nobel Laureates and 31 heads of state, among them Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. President Ghani advocated for an increase in the number of scholarships granted to Afghans during his 2015 visit to the United States. Consequently, the U.S. government, which awarded Fulbright scholarships to 58 Afghans in 2015, will increase the number to 80 for each of the next five years.
In his remarks, Ambassador McKinley emphasized the Fulbright program’s important role to foster the next generation of leaders who will “serve as experts for local problems, as implementers managing issues throughout the country, as facilitators in government at all levels, and as reformers promoting and enacting structural changes.” The 58 Afghans were selected for their leadership potential and their commitment to building a “stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” McKinley said. The recently selected Fulbrighters also heard from notable Afghan Fulbright Alumni including Minister of Agriculture Assadullah Zamir and BBC Afghanistan Bureau Chief Waheedullah Massoud, who led a panel discussion about their experiences in the United States. The panelists shared their ideas about using the experience to make a difference in Afghanistan when they return.
The U.S. Embassy will accept applications from interested Afghans from any region of the country from December 10, 2015 to March 20, 2016. All applicants must hold a Bachelor’s Degree, have a TOEFL score of at least 75, and demonstrate their commitment to contribute to the development of Afghanistan after completion of their degree. For detailed information on requirements and the application process, visit Kabul.