About Fulbright: the flagship program

The Fulbright Program is known worldwide as the flagship program for top students and scholars – studying, researching and working with the best in their fields. All of them with a commitment to advance the betterment of the world and to work for the ultimate goal of the Fulbright program – world peace.

In Denmark, the Fulbright Program is based upon a bi-national agreement from 1951 between Denmark and the U.S.A. The work is conducted by a bi-national commission with a board of 4 Danes and 4 Americans, and with the American ambassador to Denmark as honorary chair. Both governments support the work economically through annual base allocations on their state budgets, and today Fulbright Denmark receives additional support – financial and in-kind – from many other places.

Since the Fulbright Program began in Denmark in 1951 over 3.500 of “the best and the brightest” Danes and Americans have participated, working on mutual understanding and sparring with the world’s elite within their fields.  Over the last 20 years, the number of annual scholarships awarded by Fulbright Denmark to Danes and Americans has varied between 25-50, and the advising numbers have varied from 4,000-8,000.

37

Fulbright alumni have served as heads of state or government

59

Fulbright alumni from 14 countries have been awarded the Nobel Price

72

Fulbright alumni are MacArthur Foundation Fellows

84

Fulbright alumni have received Pulitzer prices

Fulbright Denmark

To step up this work for the future and to make more of the strong brand name Fulbright, Fulbright Denmark has initiated direct cooperation with leaders from the corporate and academic worlds to focus on three areas: Space, Sustainability and Life Sciences. The areas have been chosen because both countries have much to offer but also to learn from one another within these fields – and they are all important fields for a better future.

Fulbright Denmark is a builder of relationships between knowledge institutions, students and scientists, and for corporates in Denmark and the USA. Fulbright Denmark opens up for opportunities beyond the financial support of the Scholarship recipients. 

Fulbright Center

Besides the focus on the three main areas, the flagship program of Fulbright Denmark also keeps supporting American studies in Denmark; the arts; as well as other areas of special DK/U.S.A. interest. To be better capable of this, we have created the Fulbright Center, housed in Nørregade 7 A with Fulbright Denmark. Here we can invite in other grants with a U.S. focus aligning with Fulbright’s, like the prestigious Crown Prince Frederik Fund and the Thanks to Scandinavia grants for Danes, including the Victor Borge Music Scholarship. And here we can house our advising services: The official American EducationUSA, which we partner with to better service a broader and younger audience (undergraduate students), and our own Fulbright advising for prospective Fulbright grantees. The advising is free and top professional, the only place in Denmark with this focused knowledge about American university level education, and a way in which we can service many Danish students beyond the scholarships.

Like the Crown Prince Frederik Fund’s Scholarship is governed by the Harvard Kennedy School’s credo “Ask what you can do”, Fulbright Denmark, the flagship program, represents a unique opportunity to help shape the future and help young Danes and Americans reach their highest goals.

We must dare to think “unthinkable” thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about “unthinkable things” because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless.

— J. William Fulbright, Senate speech, 1964

Meet our board

Honorary Chair of the Fulbright Denmark Board
H.E.Carla Sands

The American Ambassador to Denmark

American members
Daniel J.Ernst

First Secretary, Public Affairs Officer, Chair of the board

Daniel Ernst is the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, where he oversees the Mission’s press and cultural programming and public engagement. Daniel joined the State Department on September 10, 2001 and has served at various U.S. diplomatic missions, including as Deputy Cultural Attaché in Amman, Jordan; language student at the Foreign Service Institute’s Arabic Field School in Tunis, Tunisia; Public Affairs Officer in Tikrit, Iraq; Vice Consul in Casablanca, Morocco; and in Washington, D.C., where he worked in the State Department’s Office of Iraq Political Affairs. Daniel holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in piano performance and Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College.

AjayRao

Public Diplomacy Officer, Treasurer of Fulbright Denmark

Ajay Rao is the Public Diplomacy Officer at the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. Ajay joined the U.S. Department of State in 2011. His most recent position was Public Affairs Officer for Consulate General Peshawar, Pakistan, where he led a section of six Locally Employed Staff (LES) conducting educational, cultural, and media outreach in a challenging security environment. Prior to joining the Department, Ajay taught English-language composition and conversation to university students at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.  Ajay has a Master of Fine Arts in English and Creative Writing from Mills College and B.A. from Dartmouth College.

Mark K.Draper

Director, Public Affairs, Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S

Mark Draper has 25 years of experience in the fields of public and government affairs from both the private and public sectors. He has held public affairs leadership positions with the Danish companies Coloplast, Danfoss, and Scandinavian Tobacco Group, and earlier served 15 years with the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer with postings in Washington, D.C., the Middle East, and Europe, including two tours in Denmark. Mark holds a Masters in Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College. He resides in Copenhagen.

KatherineRichardson

Professor, Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, UCPH

Katherine Richardson is Professor of Biological Oceanography and Leader of the Sustainability Science Centre at the University of Copenhagen. Her research is in how changes in climate and biodiversity in the ocean interact to influence the global carbon cycle and how humans are impacting the Earth System. She is also a Principle Investigator in the development of the Planetary Boundaries framework aiming to identify a safe operating space for humanity in relation to its perturbation of the global environment. She is a member of the Danish Council on Climate Change as well as UN’s Scientific Panel to draft the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report

Danish members
GitteAgerhus

Head of Division, Ministry of Higher Education and Science

Gitte Agerhus is head of the Division for Global Cooperation within Science and Education. Gitte has been involved in education and research policy since 2001, when she started in the then Ministry of Science, Technology and Development. Since the establishment of the Polar Secretariat in the then Danish Agency for Research and Innovation, in 2014, Gitte has been responsible for the Agency’s work on the Arctic area. Gitte holds a cand.scient.adm. from Roskilde University, and has studied at Bath Spa University, Edinburgh University and Maynooth College.

NielsAndersen

Vice Director, DTU Space & Head of DTU’s Polar Activities

Niels Andersen is on the DTU Space Executive Board and the Head of Department for Innovation and Public Authorities at DTU Space. Niels is the national representative in the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), a member of the Danish Delegation regarding United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a member of the International Law Association (ILA), and Chair of the IHO/IAG Advisory Board to United Nations on the Law of the Sea. Niels has a Ph.D. in Geodesy from University of Copenhagen, a Master’s in Physics/Mathematics from University of Aarhus and a Diploma in Business Excellence from Columbia University in New York.

JørnBrøndal

Professor & Chair, Center for American Studies, SDU

Jørn Brøndal is Professor and Chair of the Center for American Studies, University of Southern Denmark. He holds a Ph.D. degree in U.S. History from the University of Copenhagen.Jørn specializes in U.S. political, ethnic and racial history. His book, Ethnic Leadership and Midwestern Politics (2004) received a Wisconsin Historical Society Book Award of Merit (2005). His Danish-language book Det sorte USA (Black America, 2016) was among the finalists for two Danish book awards. Brøndal frequently discusses US politics on Danish radio and TV.

PeterKurrild–Klitgaard

Professor, Department of Political Science, UCPH

Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard is Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. Peter holds a Master’s from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Copenhagen University. He has held visiting appointments at a number of U.S. universities, including Harvard University, New York University, and George Mason. His specialization is comparative politics and political economy, with a special focus on constitutions and electoral systems. He has been used as a commentator on U.S. politics in Danish media for over 20 years.

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