Fulbright Program Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

Fulbright 75th Anniversary

The Fulbright program is turning 75 this year!  Throughout 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus will be celebrating the Fulbright program’s incredible legacy on the lives of individuals both in Cyprus and in the United States.  Since its inception in 1946, nearly 400,000 individuals have participated in the Fulbright program from over 160 countries around the world, advancing knowledge, improving lives, and fostering mutual understanding.

In Cyprus, since the Fulbright program began in 1962, over 700 Cypriots received graduate degrees through the Fulbright student program.  Additionally, over 1,700 received undergraduate degrees in the United States through the Cyprus America Scholarship Program (CASP), a unique educational exchange program administered through the former Fulbright Commission in Cyprus.  The U.S. Fulbright program has also supported over 750 American scholars and students to Cyprus for research, professional collaboration, English teaching, and cultural exchange.

Visit the Fulbright75 website for more information on the U.S. government’s flagship international education exchange program that is changing lives, advancing careers, and making meaningful contributions to our global society.  Follow the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs on Twitter @ECAatState and Facebook here for the latest updates on the celebration, as well as the Fulbright Program on Twitter @FulbrightPrgrm, Instagram here, and Facebook here.

To discover more about Fulbright exchange program opportunities for Cypriots and for Americans, visit the U.S. Embassy’s section under education and exchange.  Follow our own Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds for monthly highlights on outstanding Fulbright program alumni in Cyprus!

Below are some of our amazing exchange program alumni doing important work in Science, Technology, and Public Health:

Firat Ileri

Celebrating #Fulbright75 means highlighting our outstanding Cypriot Fulbright alumni! Meet Firat Ileri, one of Cyprus’ outstanding entrepreneurs and one of our U.S. government program exchange alumni! After graduating from MIT with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Management Science supported through the Cyprus America Scholarship Program (CASP) managed through Fulbright, Ileri joined J.P. Morgan in London. He focused on Emerging Markets Structured Products for two years before transitioning to Hummingbird, a global early-stage venture capital fund. As a result of his hard work and dedication, Ileri was promoted to Partner at the age of 28, becoming one of the youngest venture capital partners in European history. Firat Ileri was included in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in 2017. Congratulations on your success Firat!

Dr. Leondios Kostrikis

Alumnus Dr. Leondios Kostrikis emerged during this crisis as an important scientific voice to the public and the President of Cyprus. As a Professor of Biological Sciences and Head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology at the University of Cyprus, Dr. Kostrikis is one of the world’s top experts in the field of AIDS research where he studies the relationship between human genetics, HIV infection and drug resistance. This expertise is now playing an important role in tracking the COVID-19 epidemic in Cyprus. He has appeared regularly on state television and is quoted daily in local newspapers with his expert opinions on tracking the progression of the virus in Cyprus. Starting his U.S. education with a scholarship through the Cyprus America Scholarship Program (CASP), Dr. Kostrikis received his B.Sc. (1987), M.Sc. (1989), M.Ph. (1990) and Ph.D. (1993) degrees from New York University, followed by post‐doctoral research at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center of Rockefeller University (New York).  We are grateful for his continued work and life-saving contributions that are leading us through this crisis!

Dr. Jale Refik-Rogers

Alumna Dr. Jale Refik-Rogers is using her leadership skills and scientific training in the fight against COVID-19 in the Turkish Cypriot community. She is a member of a Turkish Cypriot team established for COVID-19 and is also actively contributing to the work of the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Health. Dr. Refik-Rogers has appeared on many radio, TV and print media outlets in the Turkish Cypriot community to provide accurate information to the public, to share important World Health Organization guidelines and announcements, and hotline information for all Turkish Cypriots. Dr. Jale Refik-Rogers received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of Maine at Orono, where she earned her B.Sc. (1998) in biochemistry with a minor in chemistry. She holds a Ph.D. (2006) in molecular biology from Cornell University. Thank you, Jale, for your leadership and guidance during this challenging time!

As part of celebrating diversity for #Fulbright75, we’re highlighting Dr. Nektarios Paisios, the only Cypriot to ever be selected for the global Fulbright Science and Technology award. Nektarios is working to solve problems for people with disabilities.

Nektarios is blind, and has a particular understanding of the everyday obstacles that visually impaired people encounter in today’s modern world: the inaccessibility of visually presented information, barriers to mobility, and the lack of equal access to mobile phones and other electronic devices. Over the last six years he has lead a team working on the accessibility of the Chrome browser, implementing the application programming interfaces used by assistive software on desktop platforms such as Windows and Mac OS. The work he does ensures accessibility for everyone, and his talents benefit the visually impaired in Cyprus, in the U.S., and throughout the world. Watch his YouTube feature to learn more about his work!

Nektarios received the prestigious global Fulbright Science and Technology program award to pursue his Ph.D. in computer science at @NYU. The S&T program provided funding to exceptional international STEM students to pursue Ph.D. studies at top U.S. universities between 2007 and 2015. The U.S. Embassy continues to send Cypriots with advanced degrees on exchanges in the U.S. under the Fulbright Visiting Scholars program.

Thank you, Nektarios, for representing the best of our U.S. exchange alumni!