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 or outcomes that they expect to achieve during their grant period. Concretely, the Fulbright Commission encourages candidates to highlight the contributions that they aim at making to the local community and/or host institution as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar.
Developing plans for long-lasting connections with local counterparts or further promoting opportunities for exchange and academic mobility between U.S. and Colombian institutions will be highly valued in the selection process. 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.
Candidates applying for a single visit (3 to 6 months long) must propose a project timeline ensuring that their grant activities are carried out between August 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025.
Alternatively, candidates applying under the Flex option can propose multiple grant segments between August 1, 2024, and June 30, 2026. However, the first segment of Flex grants must be completed before June 30, 2025.
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 the grant activities should be included in the project statement.
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.
The candidate can choose the dates for each grant segment to take place between August 1, 2024, and June 30, 2026. Please note that the first grant segment must be completed before June 30, 2025.
All candidates applying for a Flex grant must specify in their applications the expected dates of all 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 fields of study. 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, officer, 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.
If you need assistance in identifying host institutions in Colombia, in the link below, you will find a list of recommended Higher Education Institutions and Research Centers in Colombia with relevant academic and contact information: click here.
In case of any specific questions or inquiries on how to contact potential host institutions in Colombia, please reach out to Ana María Carvajal, Educational Adviser at Fulbright Colombia, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 the 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 2024-2025 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 the 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.
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 still 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 interested in conducting research 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 UN Climate Change Conference (COP) commitments. In 2022, President Gustavo Petro stated during the United Nations General Assembly that the protection of the environment and biodiversity was a priority for the country.
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.
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; however, there are several key points of the agreement that are lagging, such as the comprehensive rural reform, FARC political participation, the cessation of violence in some regions, the solution to the problem of illicit drugs, and violence against demobilized ex-combatants.
The Ivan Duque administration focused on and prioritized specific parts of the Agreement such as reincorporation, the formulation of national rural development plans, and issues related to the PDET (Programs of development with territorial approach, by its Spanish acronym). The main achievements in this field were the attention to the most abandoned municipalities of Colombia, the substitution of illicit crops, and the financing of productive projects led by ex-combatants.
Under the “Total Peace” policy, the current government aims at involving other armed groups and criminal bands that have caused violence in peace negotiations and processes of submission to justice. This policy puts the communities at the center of negotiations and creates a fund for peace that seeks social investment for distant regions highly affected by the presence of irregular armed groups. The current government has publicly announced its commitment to work on the breached agreements through the discussion of rural reform and has also begun to conduct peace dialogues with the ELN guerrilla group in order to achieve more peace and stability.
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 February 2022, approximately 2.5 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 for 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 381 higher education institutions, offering 2,825 master’s programs and 449 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 on their campuses.
Furthermore, the nationwide 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 in 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 1100 products will be developed by 2023 in the framework of this alliance, including patents, prototypes, bioprocessing facilities, industrial design registrations, and 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.
Finally, 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 190 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 to 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 host institutions in the months prior to their arrival in order to better manage their expectations and gain a deeper understanding of everyday life in their city 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 alumni mentor 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 specific 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, inclusion, decentralization, and access to its portfolio of opportunities for graduate studies, research, teaching, professional development, 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 del Norte, Universidad del Rosario, among others.
With the purpose of promoting the internationalization of higher education, and positioning Colombia as a quality academic and scientific destination, the National Government developed the Go Colombia platform in 2020, as a result of the joint work of the Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN), the Ministry of Education, Procolombia, ICETEX and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. This initiative is built and articulated with the entire educational sector and Higher Education Institutions, allowing students, teachers, and researchers of any nationality to obtain relevant information on the country's educational offer. To access these resources, please click on the following link: https://www.gocolombia.edu.co/. 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 our Educational Advisor, Ana María Carvajal.
To learn more about the history and impact of the Fulbright Program in Colombia, we invite you to watch the 65-year Anniversary miniseries of Fulbright Colombia, which was an arduous work of historical memory that brings together interviews and anecdotes from members of the Fulbright Community (grantees and alumni), members of the Fulbright Colombia team, partners, members of our Board of Directors and winners of the Fulbright Excellence Award. Through 7 chapters of less than 7 minutes each, you will learn about the milestones of our Commission in parallel with historical and cultural moments in Colombia and the United States through six decades of history: click here to watch.
Previous Fulbright Recipients
If you are interested in the experience of previous U.S. Scholars in the country, please visit the Fulbright Commission website, and follow the Fulbright Commission’s official accounts on social networks.
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.