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BYU's Earl Fry named to Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in Helsinki

Earl Fry, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University, was recently appointed to the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki in Finland for the 2011–2012 academic year.

“There are only about a dozen Fulbright Distinguished Chairs awarded worldwide in social sciences on an annual basis, so I am gratified to have received this honor,” Fry said.

He will spend the next academic year teaching a lecture course and seminar in Helsinki dealing with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. competitiveness. He also will be working on his new book, “Renaissance America,” which examines best practices to improve America’s overall competitiveness in a rapidly changing world.

Fry believes part of the reason he was awarded the grant was because of the publication of his recent book, “Lament for America,” which discusses why the United States may be a superpower in relative decline and what must be done to reverse that.

“The timing is perfect for my research,” Fry said. He wants to look into the great systems that Finland has set up in hopes of finding what could or couldn’t work for the U.S. trade, health and transit systems. “My ultimate hope is that this research will be a benefit to the American people,” he said.

Distinguished chairs are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program. Appointees are required to be eminent scholars with a significant publication and teaching record.

Fry previously served as Fulbright lecturer at the Paris-Sorbonne University and director of International Education and Canadian Studies at the State University of New York. He also served as a fellow in the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs and as special assistant in the U.S. Trade Representative Office. He has also been a visiting professor at the Université de Montréal and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

In addition, Fry was a visiting fellow at the Americas Society in New York City and the Bissell-Fulbright professor in Canadian-American relations at the University of Toronto. Fry served as president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association for Canadian Studies in the United States and on the board of directors of the Fulbright Association.

His publications focus on state and local governments, trade policy and international investment, and he has been invited to testify before committees of the U.S. Congress on these issues.

“My wife and I are very excited to go to Helsinki,” Fry said. “It’s an opportunity to be an ambassador for the U.S. and for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We get to talk about the United States and Finland and help people know what’s going on in the U.S.” He also added, “I appreciate the support of BYU. As you enter here, there’s a sign that says ‘The World is our Campus.’ Never has our relationship with the world been more important. I believe this is a part of our mission at BYU.”

The Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program comprises approximately 40 distinguished lecturing or research awards ranging from three to 12 months.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

For more information, contact Earl Fry at (801) 422-2453 or For more information about the Fulbright Scholar Program, visit




Writer: Mel Gardner


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