Remarks by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers, MOU Signing Ceremony for the Re-establishment of the Fulbright Program.

Good morning.  There is nothing more important than education.  Education creates opportunities and makes a difference in the lives of young people.  Education is thus a top priority in our bilateral relationship, which is why I am so pleased with today’s announcement.

Since my arrival in Nassau last March, I have been advocating for the return of the Fulbright Program for Bahamian students.  Simply put, the Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs in the world.  This flagship program is more than a scholarship — it is a life altering program designed to build leaders and innovators.

Since its inception, the Fulbright program has prepared participants to address global challenges.  Regardless of their academic interests, what Fulbright scholars have in common is a potential for leadership, a passion for building bridges between two nations, and the ability to forge ahead independently and accomplish their goals.  Upon returning to their home countries, Fulbrighters share their experiences and knowledge with the community, bringing societies together.

The reopening of the Fulbright Program has only strengthened our partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Bahamian government.  Working with our partners we will seek out those who show potential to be a future Governor General, engineer, professor, artist, mathematician, or business leader.

The Fulbright program can unlock this untapped talent and develop the next generation of Bahamian leaders.  I have seen this country’s potential first-hand at our annual EducationUSA college fair.  As the college fair demonstrates each fall, the United States remains the top choice for Bahamian students seeking international education.  And for students considering tertiary or graduate study, the diversity of the U.S. education system makes it one of the best in the world.

The benefits of the college fair go beyond matching students with a quality education — the fair has also led to agreements between universities and the Bahamian government.

In fact, just last October I was in this very room witnessing the signing of the MOU between the Ministry of Education and Georgia State University – a partnership that grew out of our annual EducationUSA college fair.

Today we are here again, in the same room, making more history.  As we strengthen the ties between our two countries, our shared goals of increased investment, security, transparency, and educational opportunities for Bahamians and Americans alike are coming to fruition.  This announcement is a further example, and I could not be happier to return the Fulbright student scholars program to The Bahamas!

Thank you.