University of Houston Named 2021 HSI Leader by Fulbright Program

One of 35 Hispanic-Serving Institutions to be Recognized for ‘Noteworthy Engagement’

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
Fulbright HSI Leader

The University of Houston has been named a Fulbright HSI Leader in the inaugural year of this designation by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). UH is one of 35 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to be recognized for its noteworthy engagement with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program.

Fulbright HSI Leaders, recognized for their efforts during the 2019-2021 academic years, were announced today during an international plenary session at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) annual conference.

Since 2018, an incredible 36 UH students have earned Fulbright grants. To put that in perspective, UH received a total of 35 Fulbrights between 1966 and 2017. Earlier this year, 10 recent graduates and alumni received Fulbright grants, marking the second time in three years that 10 or more UH students have earned the honor in the same application cycle. Those recipients are now conducting research and teaching English in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey. In addition, 21 UH faculty members are Fulbright Scholars.

“The designation as an HSI Leader is a direct reflection of the University’s commitment to providing a comprehensive, global educational experience for our students,” said Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Our goal is to develop forward-thinking global citizens equipped to excel in this increasingly inter-connected world. I’m proud to see the steady rise of students and faculty interested in taking advantage of the international opportunities offered through the Fulbright Program.”

This initiative is part of the U.S. State Department’s longstanding commitment to build diversity and inclusion within the Fulbright Program and within all the Bureau’s international exchange programs. On July 28, 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona released a “Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education,” which outlines the many benefits of international education and the need for “all Americans [...] to be equipped with global and cultural competencies.” The Fulbright HSI Leaders Initiative supports the goals of the joint statement, including the principle that U.S. participants in international exchanges should reflect the diversity of the United States.

Michael Pelletier, former American Ambassador and executive director of UH’s new Institute for Global Engagement, an Aspire Initiative, said enhancing learning and research experiences for students and faculty through the Fulbright Program is important to expanding the University’s international footprint.

“We aim to embed globally relevant topics within all academic programs and disciplines at the University of Houston, and the Fulbright Program offers such valuable support for engaging with different cultures, exchanging ideas, and truly making an impact around some of the most pressing areas of concern around the world,” said Pelletier.  

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs Ethan Rosenzweig, speaking on behalf of ECA, which sponsors the Fulbright Program, congratulated and thanked the leadership of the designated institutions for recognizing the impact of the Fulbright Program.

“Thank you for creating a campus culture that celebrates the mission of Fulbright and international exchanges. Thank you for epitomizing the principle that mutual understanding between peoples of the United States and other countries will lead to a more just and peaceful society at home.” He also praised the faculty, staff, and administrators on campus who recruit, advise and support future Fulbrighters throughout the application process, stating "your work epitomizes the values of why we all come to our jobs each and every day. . . to ensure our students have every opportunity to excel beyond goals they may not have believed were ever obtainable. “

2021 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program. Celebrations throughout the year are highlighting the impressive accomplishments and legacy of the program and its alumni over its first 75 years, both in the United States and around the world. A dedicated 75th anniversary website ( showcases Fulbright alumni, partner countries, and anniversary events.

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States. Many of these organizations also provide direct and indirect support. ECA sponsors the Fulbright Program, and several non-profit, cooperative partners implement and support the program on the Bureau’s behalf.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by e-mail