Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
Grantees may conduct research, teach graduate or undergraduate courses, participate in conferences and seminars, carry out fieldwork, and advise students or faculty members, among other activities. Projects that involve work with communities outside of the host institution are of particular interest.
As part of their project proposal, candidates must specify the academic products, contributions, or outcomes that they expect to achieve during their grant period. All grantees, regardless of their award activity, are expected to lead at least one public conference related to their project or field of expertise during their grant period.
For the Teaching/Research combination, the ratio of grant activities can be defined by the candidate according to their interests, project details, and previous agreements with the host institution. Therefore, there are not any specific requirements related to minimum teaching load or desired ratio of Teaching/Research activities.
Any higher education institution, research center, NGO, or public institution in Colombia.
Grant activities must take place between August 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024. The first segment of Flex grants must be completed before June 30, 2024. Within these parameters, grantees can choose the most suitable grant dates according to their availability and previous arrangements with the host institution in Colombia. A schedule of grant activities should be included in the statement of purpose.
Flex grants, which allow the grant to be split into multiple in-country visits, will be considered. The minimum length of any grant segment is one month (30 calendar days) and the maximum length is three months (90 calendar days). Two or three segments may be spread across one or two consecutive academic years.
All candidates applying to a flex grant must specify in their applications the expected dates of grant segments.
The Flex Award is designed for scholars who require multiple visits to the host country. This option allows grants to be conducted over two or three short segments. Applicants must select Flex in the application form, and clearly describe their plans for Flex in their project statement, including a project timeline. Flex grantees may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host-country academic community.
This award is open to all disciplines. However, projects that involve work with communities outside of the host institution and/or address topics related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be particularly welcome.
Applicants must submit an invitation letter signed by the director of the department, academic unit, institute, or research center interested in hosting the candidate, or alternatively, signed by the professor or researcher who is interested in working with the candidate in the proposed project, provided that this invitation has been approved by the department director or dean.
Securing a letter of invitation is an essential step in the application process for this award. Applicants are encouraged to contact potential host institutions in Colombia as early as possible, given that response times will vary depending on the Colombian institution's internal procedures and policies.
For questions related to the U.S. Scholar Program in Colombia or if you need assistance in finding a suitable host institution for your application, please email Colin Andrews, Educational Adviser at Fulbright Colombia, email@example.com. The Fulbright Commission will generate a list of recommended host institutions in Colombia including academic and contact information according to the candidate’s specific field of interest, geographical region of interest, academic project, and preferences. Once the applicant's preferences and proposal details have been confirmed via email, it may take one (1) to two (2) weeks for the Commission to complete the search for potential host institutions and put together the list of recommended host institutions for the interested applicant.
Requests for assistance in identifying potential host institutions in Colombia will be received until September 1, 2022.
Applicants must register qualified language evaluator, such as a language instructor or a translator, to conduct the external assessment in the application. Being a native speaker alone does not qualify an individual to conduct the assessment.
Applicants who are native speakers do not need to complete an external evaluation.
In general, intermediate or higher Spanish proficiency is recommended to help facilitate a scholar’s successful academic performance and interaction with Colombian counterparts, local populations, and other relevant stakeholders. However, the language requirements vary as required by the specific grant activity.
Please note: all applicants must submit the language proficiency evaluations, regardless of proficiency level, with the exception of applicants claiming native-level Spanish proficiency. Candidates with basic or limited Spanish language skills will be considered if the host institution does not require a fluent Spanish speaker, and according to the proposed grant activities. In such cases, the language flexibility must be mentioned in the invitation letter provided by the Colombian host institution.
Grantees with dual U.S. and Colombian nationality are required by Colombian law to enter the country on a Colombian passport.
The scholar will receive a monthly stipend of USD $3,700 to cover all expenses in Colombia, including settling-in maintenance, housing, and materials during the grant period.
No additional allowance is provided for scholars traveling with dependents.
 Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the 2023-2024 academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards, and allowances.
Along with the first stipend payment, the grantee will receive a USD $1,500 allowance to cover economy-class round-trip international airfare.
Included in the stipend amount.
During their grant period, Fulbright U.S. Scholars in the Western Hemisphere (WHA) region may apply for a short-term regional travel grant for activities such as workshops, seminars, presentations, lectures, performances, exhibits, curricular advising and similar projects at institutions in eligible WHA countries. (Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados and Eastern Caribbean, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, México, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Uruguay).
The Regional Travel Program covers travel to and from the destination; lodging may be offered by the host institution. Scholars may only apply for this grant once they are in country on their Fulbright grant. Scholars who apply for the Flex award are ineligible for the Regional Travel Program. Additional information can be found on the Regional Travel Program website.
Please note that the Regional Travel Program is currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All eligible Scholars will be notified of its reopening, which is dependent on the status of the global health situation.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
Located in the northwest corner of South America, Colombia has a rich and complex geography that is shaped by three exuberant branches of the Andes mountain range system and lined by both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. With more than 50 million citizens, Colombia has the second largest population in South America and is Latin America’s oldest and most stable democracy. Colombia is a free market economy with major commercial and investment ties to countries around the world, including the United States.
In the last five years, Colombia has established itself as one of the most rapidly growing and innovative economies in Latin America. The country’s natural diversity is comparable to its rich cultural heritage reflecting the indigenous, Spanish, and African origins of its people. This makes Colombian food, music, dance, and art greatly diverse and unique.
Colombia is a paradigmatic example of a middle-income economy, and although highly dependent on fossil fuels for national income, it is poised to transition towards a carbon-neutral and circular economy which could become a replicable example for other developing countries. Colombia's diversity –ecosystemic, economic, social, and cultural– offers an engaging setting for research projects that seek to find solutions to the largest global challenges of our times.
A remarkable location for biodiversity, sustainable development, and peace studies
Colombia has always been a preferred destination for students and scholars from around the world conducting research or interested in biodiversity and sustainable development. As the second most biodiverse country in the world, Colombia opens numerous possibilities for academic visitors to engage and expand their knowledge. Colombia houses an unparalleled diversity of natural environments ranging from plains and deserts to high mountains, snowy peaks, Amazonian jungle, and Pacific and Caribbean coastlines— each with its own set of unique fauna and flora. Thus, providing the perfect context for adventurous scholars aiming to engage in research in distinct ecologies and establish networks with local communities.
As one of the largest economies in Latin America, Colombia has the potential to influence the region as a whole, and in particular, exemplify a pathway towards sustainable development despite challenging sociopolitical contexts. The country’s deep connection with the Pacific Alliance and its strategic geographic location, as well as its historic drive in international contexts, position Colombia to lead efforts that can be transformative at the regional and global levels.
Due to its location and geographical situation, Colombia has been identified as being among the most vulnerable countries in the face of climate change. Along these lines, education at all levels plays a key role in the adoption of change towards sustainability, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
It is also important to highlight the efforts made by the Colombian government to lead energy transition and strategies to tackle the climate crisis in Latin America. In this sense, the country has gained recognition for setting in place the first regional policy on circular economy and its progress making headway in the discussion of a Climate Action Law in Congress aiming at drawing together and enforcing COP26 commitments.
In recent years, the country has also become a primary destination for those studying peace processes, rural development, and social transformation. In recent years, Colombia has undergone a remarkable transformation that has turned the tide on a long-running civil conflict. The signing of the peace agreement in 2016 between the 50-year-old FARC guerrilla group and the administration of former president Juan Manuel Santos opened up a historical opportunity for peacebuilding in Colombia and especially in regions heavily affected by decades of conflict.
While there has been considerable progress in the implementation of the peace agreement, particularly in terms of the demobilization of the former insurgency, and the recognition and reparation for victims, there are several key points of the agreement that are lagging, such as the comprehensive rural reform, the cessation of violence in some regions, the solution to the problem of illicit drugs, and violence against demobilized ex-combatants. While there have been major improvements in Colombia in terms of security, significant challenges remain for the successful implementation of the peace agreements and the reintegration of the members of the former insurgency.
Another recent challenge in Colombia is the increasing inflow of migrants from Venezuela in the past years. As of January 2021, approximately 1.7 million Venezuelans had arrived in Colombia, according to Colombian official statistics. Colombia has taken a leading role in adopting an open borders policy and implementing humanistic practices in the provision of services such as education, healthcare, employment services, and humanitarian aid to Venezuelan migrants and repatriated Colombians.
A diversified and connected system of higher education
In recent years, Colombia has made education a top priority in the country’s economic and social development and has invested more resources in this sector than in any other area. Colombia is a country that has made great efforts to offer inclusive and quality education for all by implementing policies that have increased the number of hours that children attend school, ensured access to education to children of younger ages, and strengthened the bridge into higher education settings. The country has also focused on increasing access to higher education for vulnerable and marginalized populations and investing in improving teacher training and development.
Colombia has a growing and diverse higher education system, composed of over 316 higher education institutions, offering 2,723 master’s programs and 438 doctoral programs. Colombian higher education institutions have been innovating their programs and procedures in order to attract more foreign scholars and students. The National Ministry of Education and its allies, MinCiencias and ICETEX, have invested heavily in advancing the installed capacities of Colombia's higher education system in order to improve the research and teaching in their campuses.
Furthermore, the nation-wide initiative “Colombia Challenge your Knowledge” (CCYK), which is led by the top universities in the country, has been analyzing and implementing the best internationalization practices in order to attract more international visitors.
Colombia’s bet on Science, Technology, and Innovation
A number of new partnerships between Colombian and U.S. universities have been cemented during recent years; many of them funded by Colombia Científica. As the flagship Colombian governmental initiative to promote internationalization, science, and research in the country, Colombia Científica has coordinated efforts with the productive sector and world-class institutions. This inter-institutional initiative, supported by the World Bank, has gathered 148 stakeholders participating in eight Scientific Ecosystems in the following strategic focus areas: bio-economics, health, sustainable energy, food, and society. More than 900 products have been developed in the framework of this alliance, including patents, prototypes, bioprocessing facilities, industrial design registrations, spin-offs, among others.
The Territorial Ecosystems of Science, Technology, and Innovation (CT&I), established by MinCiencias, also provide a framework for development in the different regions of Colombia. By integrating the regions' specific needs into strategic investment projects, competitive production areas, and development initiatives, the Department Councils of CT&I have played a key role in the alignment of regional initiatives and the goals and policies of science, technology, and innovation in the country.
During the last decade, Colombia has experienced impressive progress in terms of digital government and policy-making for the strengthening of Information and Communication Technologies. As part of this achievement, the Colombian government has created Excellence and Appropriation Centers, aiming to position Colombia in the field of big data analytics.
Finally, it is worth noting that in 2019 the Colombian government launched the Misión Internacional de Sabios for the advancement of science, technology, and innovation, which is comprised of 47 national and international experts whose objective is to contribute to the construction and implementation of public policy on Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, as well as long term strategies that Colombia must implement in order to respond to productive and social challenges in a scalable, replicable and sustainable way. The Mission delivered documents with feasible recommendations and relevant questions that will need to be addressed for the country to take a leap forward around eight key topics: Social Sciences and Human Development; Life Sciences and Health, Biotechnology and Environment; Ocean and Hydrobiological Resources; Basic and Space Sciences; Sustainable Energy; Converging (Nano-, Info- and Cogno-) Technologies and Industries 4.0; and Creative and Cultural Industries.
For further information on the findings and recommendations of the Misión International de Sabios please visit https://minciencias.gov.co/mision-sabios/que-es.
Fulbright U.S. Scholars in Colombia
Since 1958, more than 180 U.S. faculty, researchers, and experts have conducted academic activities in different cities of Colombia, as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Based on their feedback and comments, the following recommendations can facilitate future U.S. scholars’ adaptation process and overall experience in the country:
- Grantees traveling with dependents are advised to opt for placement in large or medium-sized cities in order to have access to a more diversified set of options for housing, schooling, and health-provision services, according to their needs and preferences.
- The host institution and local partners can be of great help for U.S. grantees to better prepare for their experience and cultural adaptation. Selected grantees are encouraged to discuss issues related to the local context, lifestyle, and culture with their hosts in the months prior to their arrival in order to better manage their expectations and gain a deeper understanding of everyday life in their cities of placement. Along these lines, scholars are also encouraged to reach out to the International Office of their host institution, which can provide insightful specific orientation and additional resources.
- Maintaining close communication with the assigned Program Officer and mentors will allow the Fulbright Commission to provide assistance and orientation in a timely manner, and identify specific issues or situations in which the grantees may require additional accompaniment and help.
- Plan any in-country trips in advance. Please note that all domestic and international travel during the grant period in Colombia, including fieldwork trips, must be approved by the Fulbright Commission.
- Potential candidates can find additional information and recommendations about safety and security, health, housing, and how to prepare for living in Colombia in the Orientation Handbook for U.S. grantees available at: https://fulbright.edu.co/comunidad-estadounidense-alumni/.
Fulbright in Colombia
The Fulbright Commission in Colombia has made determined efforts aimed to enhance diversity, equity, decentralization, and access to its portfolio of opportunities for graduate studies, research, teaching, and English teaching. Broadening the geographical presence of U.S. grantees in the country has been critical to achieving these objectives. The extended coverage of Fulbright Programs for U.S. participants in the country has been possible thanks to the significant contributions from Colombian partners such as ICETEX, the National Ministry of Education, MinCiencias, SENA, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Universidad del Valle, Universidad de los Andes, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad del Norte, Universidad del Rosario, Universidad EAFIT, among others.
To learn more about Colombia as a travel destination, visit http://www.colombia.co/. For questions related to the U.S. Scholar Program in Colombia or if you need assistance in finding a suitable host institution for your application, please email Program Officer, Sergio Sánchez.
If you are interested in the experience of previous U.S. Scholars in the country, please visit the Fulbright Commission website https://fulbright.edu.co/beca-fulbright-u-s-scholar/, and follow the Fulbright Commission’s official accounts in social networks.
Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.