The United States Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946, immediately after World War II, to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchange. Senator J. William Fulbright, sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict. With this as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 300,000 participants-chosen for their leadership potential-with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants.
Since its inception more than fifty years ago 255,000 "Fulbrighters," 96,400 from the United States and 158,600 from other countries, have participated in the Program. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions in foreign countries, and in the United States, also contribute financially through cost-sharing and indirect support, such as salary supplements, tuition waivers, university housing, etc.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) coordinates the activities relevant to the U.S. Student Program in Ecuador and conducts an annual competition for the scholarships, which are for ten months for study or research. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) coordinates the activities relevant to the Fulbright American Scholar Program and conducts the annual competition for the scholarships for faculty and professionals. Ecuador offers grants for three to five months for research, lecturing, or research and lecturing.
The Board of Directors of the Fulbright Commission in Ecuador reviews and accepts nominations for the Fulbright Student Program, Fulbright Scholar Program, the Programa de Especialistas Fulbright Senior and the New Century Scholar Program, made under the policy guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB), who is responsible for the selection of all Fulbright grantees and the supervision of the Fulbright Program worldwide.