By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE MINNIS administration signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with the United States Embassy in Nassau to re-establish the Fulbright scholarship programme for Bahamian students.
The prestigious programme provides grants to study, teach and research abroad.
The last time a Bahamian was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship was 1996, and previous awardees include former Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont and cultural icon E Clement Bethel.
“We look forward to a new generation of Bahamian scholars and artists becoming Fulbright scholars,” Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said during the signing, which took place at his office.
“Our vision as a country is to help foster the development of 21st century global citizens who are creative, open to growth, analytical and committed to the promotion of justice for all peoples.
“I am thrilled that we are re-joining the prestigious Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programme, which provides grants to approximately 800 foreign scholars from over 95 countries to lecture and/or conduct postdoctoral research at US institutions,” Dr Minnis continued.
“Additionally, the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme enables graduate students, young professionals and artists to research and study in the United States for one year or longer.”
Caroline Casagrande, deputy assistant secretary of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, also spoke at the event, .
describing the Fulbright Programme as the “flagship” international programme of the US.
“Last year 2,100 Bahamian students [studied] in the United States - making it the second-largest centre of international students from the Caribbean to our country. I am here to say we would like that number to increase even more,” she said, adding the signing of the MoU will encourage more students to study between the two countries.
Education Minister Jeff Lloyd also delivered remarks yesterday, noting the signing culminates a two-year effort between the Ministry of Education and US Embassy.
“This Fulbright is also a manifestation of our own commitment in this government, some $20m this year for scholarship opportunities. Both here in the Bahamas as well as in the United States,” Mr Lloyd said.
“This Fulbright is the most prestigious scholarship opportunity for our young people. And it has the great benefit of taking our students beyond the initial tertiary educational level, that is the Bachelors, all the way into their research fields – master’s as well as PhDs.”
Mr Lloyd noted this “historic revival” comes after a “23-year hiatus”, as it has been over 23 years since the Bahamas has had a Fulbright scholar.