Kirsty Williams AM, Minister for Education

First published:
29 May 2019
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2 new prestigious Wales-US education partnerships were launched last night at the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo 2019 in Washington DC, the largest international education conference in the world.

For the first time ever, there is a dedicated Wales programme with both the US-UK Fulbright Commission and The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Programme. This will provide increased opportunities for students and researchers from both our nations to attend university and contribute to academic and culture life in the other country.

6 postgraduate students and researchers from Wales will study in the United States, with equivalent places for American students at Welsh universities. I have also agreed that Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University will look after the interests of Wales on the Fulbright Commission Board.

I am delighted that the Fulbright Commission will also work with its partner, the Institute for International Education (IIE) in the United States, to promote Wales and our research institutions across the US. I met with the IIE during my visit to the United States in 2018 to discuss Wales’ ambitions for education exchanges, and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on that.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Programme is aimed at less wealthy students from the United States who might otherwise not have the opportunity to study abroad. The agreement will provide study places for ten American undergraduates to study at Welsh universities.

We have signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to support Gilman scholars in Wales, to collaborate on increasing and diversifying international student mobility, and to further mutual understanding.

This builds on the new international student mobility pilot I announced recently, which will ensure that many more Welsh students, from all backgrounds, benefit from the transformational experience of spending time studying, volunteering or undertaking work experience abroad. We have also expanded our links with Yale, Harvard and MIT universities, which offer opportunities for Welsh students both here and in the United States.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.