J. William Fulbright as a Rhodes Scholar, 1925Senator J. William Fulbright (Arkansas & Pembroke 1925) was remembered in Oxford today with the inaugural Fulbright Memorial Lecture on International Relations given by Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton. 

William Fulbright was a United States Senator for Arkansas (Democrat) from 1945 to 1974. In 1944, replying to congratulations from the Warden of Rhodes House on his election to the Senate, Senator-elect Fulbright had written: 'I confess that I feel it is quite an honor to be the first Rhodes Scholar to enter the Senate. I only hope that I may be able to make some contribution towards the peace and stability which Cecil Rhodes would like to see in this world.'

Senator Fulbright became the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1959-74), an advocate of multilateralism, and an opponent of the Vietnam war. Influenced by his experience at Pembroke College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, he was the architect of the Fulbright program of international educational exchange, one of the most important developments in international student and academic mobility in the 20th century.

Two Arkansas Rhodes Scholars - William J. Clinton (1968) and J. William Fulbright (1925) - with Harriet Mayor Fulbright, at presentation of Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1993In 1967, Senator Fulbright acted as a referee for William J. Clinton (Arkansas & University 1968) when he applied for the Rhodes Scholarship. In 2005, to mark the centenary of Senator Fulbright's birth, a Rhodes Scholar who had also studied at Pembroke College and gone on to be Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana & Pembroke 1954), spoke at Pembroke of his links with Senator Fulbright, and their shared commitment to the importance of international education.

The Master of Pembroke College, Mr Giles Henderson, tonight spoke of Senator Fulbright's greatest legacy as being his remarkable contribution to the internationalisation of education.

Professor Slaughter's lecture in memory of Senator Fulbright was entitled 'The Turn: American Foreign Policy 2009 - 2011'. It discussed the movement 'from an anarchical society of states to a networked society of individuals and groups in which governments are embedded', and how US foreign policy under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had seen a significantly greater emphasis on government-to-society and society-to-society links facilitated by government. This included, for example, a much greater focus on development alongside diplomacy and defence.

Professor Slaughter said that nothing could better exemplify society-to-society relations than the Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, and quoted Cecil Rhodes's 1901 statement that he hoped to help 'render war impossible and educational relations make the strongest tie'.

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton, was Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department from January 2009 to February 2011, and was the Dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 2002-09. She read for the MPhil and DPhil in International Relations at Oxford, coming to Worcester College in 1980 on a scholarship created in memory of D M Sachs (New Jersey & Worcester 1960).

Professor Slaughter addressing Rhodes ScholarsLast night, Professor Slaughter spoke with current Rhodes Scholars at Rhodes House on the challenges of juggling work and family. Her dialogue with Scholars was warmly appreciated.

The inaugural Fulbright Memorial Lecture by Professor Slaughter came soon after a very successful visit to Oxford, as the inaugural Fulbright Visiting Fellow, of Professor Joseph S. Nye (New Jersey & Exeter 1958). During his visit, amongst other commitments, Professor Nye spoke on the changing nature of power in the 21st century at the Global Scholars Symposium at Rhodes House.

Fundraising by the University of Oxford and Pembroke College is currently underway to create a University Fulbright post, an Annual Lecture and a Visiting Fellowship, as well as Fulbright rooms at Pembroke College.  For more information, please click here