Washington: The United States State Department will not continue its prestigious Fulbright Foreign Student Program in Afghanistan for the 2022-23 academic year, an American broadcast network citing an official has reported.
According to ABC News, the news of the suspension of the program was delivered to applicants on Friday afternoon after months of delays to applicant interviews.
“Due to significant barriers impeding our ability to provide a safe exchange experience, the selection process for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program in Afghanistan for the 2022-23 academic year will not move forward,” a State Department official told ABC News.
“We recognize the significant time and effort that the current applicants have invested and understand that this decision brings disappointment,” the official added. While the program will continue for the more than 100 Fulbright students from Afghanistan who are already studying in the US, the State Department did not offer details on their return to their native country, as the grant is designed for scholars to do.
An email from the State Department to the 2022 group last month suggested they consider other evacuation routes and opportunities as it explored the options for continuing the program, “but we have not yet identified a safe and viable way forward,” it said, according to ABC News.
The Fulbright Program, administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, was established by Congress in 1946 with a goal of international relationship building by offering both grants to US citizens to study or teach abroad and to non-US citizens to study in the states, as per the television network.