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Afghan Students Benefit from Fulbright Scholarships

30 students from Afghanistan are expected to arrive in the United States in 2007 as the proud beneficiaries of Fulbright scholarships. The Fulbright program pays the full tuition and living expenses for foreign students who wish to study in the United States, and also helps those students navigate the often elaborate visa application process. The Institute of International Education (IIE) oversees the Fulbright program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Since 2002, millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteers have arrived in Afghanistan offering to help repair the country’s devastated educational infrastructure. Rebuilding schools has been a priority of Afghanistan’s government, but over 80% of Afghanistan’s schools had been destroyed throughout nearly three decades of warfare. Afghanistan lacks human capacity in a number of key fields, and has only begun to develop its system of higher education. Although much progress has been made, students are also seeking opportunities overseas. The Fulbright program is designed to help Afghan students further enhance their education. 

One such student, Qais Faqiri, was in high school in 2004 when he heard from an American journalist that the first group of Afghan students made their way to the U.S. Inspired by their example, Faqiri applied for a Fulbright of his own, and will come to the U.S. in 2007 as an undergraduate student. Faqiri is currently a sophomore in journalism at Afghanistan’s Balkh University and eagerly anticipates his studies in the U.S. Another Afghan student, Mohammad Omar Sharifi, is studying for his Masters degree in Anthropology at Columbia University. Sharifi is impressed with the teaching style at Columbia, which encourages student to pursue their own theories and ideas. Faqiri and Sharifi are representatives of a new generation of Afghans empowered by educational opportunities all over the world.

Click here for Fulbright scholarship application requirements

Click here for more information about IIE and the Fulbright program

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