In Italy the Fulbright scholarship exists since its first establishment.
What does Fulbright do in Italy?
The Fulbright Commission promotes studies in the United States and allows US scholars to come to Italy, ensuring a comparison on different topics such as scientific (strictly speaking), social, literary and cultural ones, at the civil society level.
Meritocracy feeds the entire Fulbright selection process: well…you must be little smart to apply for this scholarship!
But not only, you need to also be a bit entrepreneur and a risk-lover because, if you get the Fulbright Scholarship, you really have to go to the United States with a one-way flight (for the return one, you have to call them and say ” I am coming back”).
But is it really so important and prestigious for us Italians?
Yes it is.
It is a prestigious and important title because it opens many doors not only in Italy, but all over the world.
And it opens many doors because it is a symbol of positive values.
Many people who are part of the history of our country are Fulbright scholars: …smart yes, but also visionaries and risk-takers in the early days of their careers because all of them had few years away from everyone and from the environment they belonged to.
How can I explain?
Do you remember the Erasmus Program?
Well, you have to go much further away, so much further. And not only for six months, but for at least one year, even two or three (like myself).
I think it is not a coincidence that the Erasmus Founder and first promoter was also a Fulbright scholar.
(And, in her own words, it was the Fulbright experience that gave her the image of what she would – indeed we would – have been able to do in Europe).
The three Nobel Prize winners Tullio Regge, Carlo Rubbia, and Riccardo Giacconi; Antonio Cassese, Sabino Cassese, Umberto Eco, Lamberto Dini, Marcello Pera, Gino Giugni, Gianfranco Pasquino, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Gianni Riotta, Giuliano Amato, Corrado Passera and Margherita Hack, who received the Fulbright gold medal.
Among the Americans the nobel Price winners Emilio Segre and Oliver Williamson, and then Lorin Maazel, Joseph La Palombara, Robert Putnam, Richard Serra and Dale Chihuly.