Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

American cultural diplomacy, the Fulbright Program, and U.S.-Hungarian higher education relations in the twentieth century
by Medalis, Christopher, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009, 297; 3373715
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates the role of educational exchange programs in American cultural diplomacy over the course of the twentieth century and their role in foreign policy, through the example of Hungary. It examines the Fulbright Program during the Cold War, as an instrument for aiding Hungary's systemic transition in the 1980s, and in the transformation of its higher education in the dynamic post-1989 period.

The educational interaction between the United States and Hungary is reviewed from a historical perspective. The study begins with the initial projection of American higher education abroad under private auspices and the founding of official U.S. government cultural diplomacy in 1938. The study then examines the origins, conceptualization, and development of the Fulbright Program, the U.S.' flagship international education initiative. Although the study focuses on official educational exchange programs, it also considers the important and ongoing role played by American private sector organizations, notably universities, foundations, and non-governmental organizations, in the promotion of educational exchange with Hungary.

The post-World War II bipolar world order triggered debates in American policymaking circles on the nature of the Fulbright Program and the role of educational exchanges in the Cold War struggle. This dissertation explores how, in the case of Hungary, the almost complete lack of educational exchange with the U.S in the 1950s was replaced by gradual engagement by both sides in the 1960s. It examines the crucial milestones of U.S. cultural diplomacy with Hungary in the late 1970s resulting in the establishment of the Fulbright Program between the two countries. The final section provides analysis of the active and deliberate utilization of the Fulbright Program by the U.S. government during the 1980s and 1990s to support the transformation of the Hungarian higher education system.

The period of observation and analysis extends from 1919 to 2000, rather than examining U.S.-Hungarian relations in distinct pre-World War II, Cold War, and post-1989 stages, as traditional periodization would suggest. This longer time span provides an understanding of the durable nature of educational ties between countries, while tracing shifting paradigms of the role of educational exchanges in cultural dip diplomacy and foreign policy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Berghahn, Volker
Commitee:
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: European history, Education history
Keywords: Cold War, Cultural diplomacy, Educational exchange, Fulbright, Fulbright Program, Hungary, Twentieth century, United States-Hungary
Publication Number: 3373715
ISBN: 9781109345049
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