The Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Nepal (also known as “the Fulbright Commission” or “USEF/Nepal“) was established in 1961 by executive agreement between the governments of Nepal and the United States, and has operated continuously since that time. It is a binational organization governed by a Board of Directors composed of five Nepalis appointed by the Government of Nepal and five Americans appointed by the American Ambassador. The Board sets policies, awards grants and oversees the Commission’s Secretariat which administers the exchange programs. Day-to-day operations of the Commission are the responsibility of the Executive Director.
The Commission administers educational exchange activities between Nepal and the United States and provides information about American higher education opportunities to the Nepali public. Its principal programs are the Fulbright program, the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship program, academic and professional awards from the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii and a full range of student counseling, test preparation and test administration services provided through USEF’s Educational Advising Center (EAC).
The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright. Its purpose is to increase mutual understanding and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright program emphasizes scholarly interchange and academic excellence with awards based on open competition. The original legislation establishing what eventually became known as the Fulbright Program was signed into law by President Truman on August 1, 1946. At that time, Senator J. William Fulbright saw a world devastated by war and awed by its newly acquired atomic power. Remembering his own overseas experience as a Rhodes Scholar, the young Senator reasoned that people and nations had to learn to think globally if the world was to avoid annihilation. He believed that if large numbers of people lived and studied in other countries, “they might develop a capacity for empathy, a distaste for killing other men, and an inclination for peace.”
Although the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Nepal was established in 1961, the first Fulbright Scholarships were awarded to Nepalis and to Americans to go to Nepal in the 1950s. Since that time, more than 500 Nepalis have studied, done research or taught in the US under Commission auspices, and more than 300 Americans have come to Nepal to teach and conduct research. The Fulbright Program supports graduate study and post-doctoral research in the US for Nepali junior and senior scholars. The program also funds American students and professors to do research or lecture at universities in Nepal. Annually, the Fulbright Commission sponsors 8-10 American Fulbrighters and sends about an equal number of Nepali grantees to the US.
Grantees are selected on the basis of their academic excellence, professional qualifications and potential in a wide range of disciplines and specializations. Binational members of the Nepal Commission’s Selection Review Committees select grantees through a stringent selection procedure continuing over more than a year and involving several stages of screening, evaluation interviews and counseling.