Fulbright in France Celebrates Two Milestones

Tenth Anniversary of Fulbright-Aquitaine Program

The 10th anniversary of the Fulbright-Aquitaine program was celebrated in Bordeaux, France, on October 11, 2013.  The Fulbright-Aquitaine program is one of three programs begun in 2003 by the Franco-American Commission for Educational Exchange (FACEE), in which a French regional government provides funding for French and U.S. Fulbright scholars to conduct collaborative research in the other country.  The awards in Aquitaine focus primarily on the hard sciences, including areas of analytical chemistry, materials chemistry, subsoil energy, optic – lasers, health sciences, environment sciences, and information sciences, in addition to archeology, economics, and management.  At the anniversary celebration in Bordeaux, French Scientist Laurent Cognet, who received a Fulbright-Aquitaine grant to Rice University in Texas in 2006-07, reported that 60% of his current research derives directly from his Fulbright experience.


French Fulbright Commission Completes First Year of U.S. International Education Administrators Seminar


The French Fulbright Commission successfully launched the first edition of the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program October 5-19.  The Fulbright program brought 11 university administrators to Bordeaux, Paris and Strasbourg with the objective of deepening the group’s understanding of the French Higher Education and Research landscape.  The delegates represented a wide range of U.S. universities including: small, private liberal arts and multidisciplinary institutions Pitzer College, Bellarmine University,  Averett University, University of Bridgeport and the New School; large state universities Kent State University and SUNY College at Old Westbury; and large private universities Columbia University, Saint Louis University and Brigham Young University.  A representative of World Education Services was also in the delegation.

France IEA 2013: Bordeaux recently inaugurated Institut des sciences de la vigne et du vin


The program incorporated presentations, meetings and encounters in the three cities with leaders, decision makers, academics, Fulbright alumni, the Aquitaine and Alsace regional councils and students.  The delegation met and visited nearly 20 French institutions including universities, grandes écoles, research institutions, European institutions and high schools in Bordeaux, Paris and Strasbourg.  The European dimension of Higher Education and Research was explored in Bordeaux with the European Agency 2E2F presenting Erasmus + funding opportunities for student mobility and the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research presenting research funding.   Delegates also met with the Bordeaux Universities and the French Wine institute ISVV giving them a better appreciation of the regional dynamic and expertise. 


In Paris, participants visited the Sorbonne university and several other institutions inside and outside of Paris, including the “Université Paris-Saclay”, the most ambitious project currently supported by the French government creating a federation of world class research institutions just outside of Paris. The program offered a  regional and cross-border European experience when the 11 French IEA delegates met up with the 20 German IEA program delegates in Strasbourg.   A total of 32 American delegates were able to consolidate what they had learned about France and Germany’s Higher Education systems and exchange observations.  The groups compared systems, heard about the University of Strasbourg’s approach to mergers and international cooperation and ended the stay with a visit to the Council of Europe.  The two-week program illustrated the diversity of the higher education landscape in France as well as the regional cultural heritage.  The delegates expressed their satisfaction in the quality of the dialogues, the variety of encounters and the opportunity to explore common current issues at the heart of the globalization of higher education today.   During  the debriefing session, participants developed a concrete sense of what was possible, with whom and where.  They also felt they understood better the hurdles of cooperation due to lack the information on both sides, mismatched expectations, issues of tuition costs and the impact of rankings on institutional visibility.  They expressed their enthusiasm in revising faculty research partnerships, project collaboration, student orientation for international experience and dual-degrees.

France IEA 2013: Paris grand escalier de la Sorbonne