John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to a Group of Fulbright-Hays Scholars From Abroad.

April 23, 1963

Ladies and gentlemen:

I am glad to see the new, young Fulbright scholars who are studying in this country, some of the brightest minds from abroad who are coming here to learn what they can about the United States. I want to express our very great appreciation to all of you for coming here. This program, which was begun by Senator Fulbright and Congressman Hays in the days following World War II, was a recognition and really almost a new recognition by a country which had lived in isolation and neutrality for so many years of its history that we were part of the world not only politically and militarily but also culturally.

And, therefore, these programs have been an attempt to bring the brightest talent from abroad to the United States so that the interaction of your cultures and ours, your educational experience and ours, may bring about a higher knowledge, a higher understanding of not only what we are trying to do in the field of knowledge but also of what we are trying to do in the field of human relations. So I am delighted to welcome you to the White House.

As you know, in the early 19th century a good many Americans went to Europe to study, Bancroft, Ticknor, and Everett, and what they learned provided a good deal of stimulus to American culture on the frontier and American scholarship. Now that process is, to some degree at least, being reversed and a good many people come from abroad to the United States. I think they teach more than they learn, but nevertheless we welcome you. We feel that this internationalization of knowledge, of understanding, of interest is perhaps the most valuable and important part of life today.

We are glad to welcome you not only from Europe but from Latin America, Asia, Africa. The world is very small today and I think that all of us who are citizens of it should get to know each other better. So we are glad to have you to this house and to tell you that we appreciate and feel honored by the fact that you have chosen to come to our country.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:30 a.m. in the Flower Garden at the White House.

The group, composed of 100 scholars who were lecturing and doing research at American universities, was in Washington for the fourth annual Fulbright Spring Conference sponsored by the Department of State, the Committee on International Exchange of Persons of the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils, and the Washington International Center.

Dr. Francis A. Young, Executive Secretary of the Committee on International Exchange of persons, presented the group to the President.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to a Group of Fulbright-Hays Scholars From Abroad. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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