Since its founding in 1920 by president Herbert Hoover, the Belgian American Educational Foundation has provided 4,050 individuals, 3,148 Belgians and 902 Americans, with the opportunity for a period of advanced study in the partner country. Actually, since multi-year and renewal awards were made to some Fellows, a much larger number of awards have been granted by the Foundation.
Those who have benefited from the philanthropic endeavors of B.A.E.F., have proceeded to make outstanding contributions to their individual countries. Americans who have had the opportunity to do graduate work in Belgium 's prestigious institutions of higher learning, can now be found occupying significant positions in the academic, professional, commercial and industrial fields in the U.S.A., as well as in the arts and the sciences. Likewise, Belgians who have been beneficiaries, have gone on to become Prime Ministers, Ministers of State, distinguished professors and scholars, as well as bankers, lawyers, engineers and businessmen. In addition, those Belgians who chose to remain in the United States after completing their studies, although few in number, occupy important positions in various fields, particularly in the academic world. Six of the fourteen Members of the Board are former Fellows.
The B.A.E.F. Exchange Fellowship programs have been instrumental in instilling in the American and Belgian Fellows a deep respect and appreciation for the other's country and people, and as a result a spirit of friendship and cooperation has permeated their dealings with each other on all levels, politically, academically, in the arts and in the world of trade and economics. Needless to say, this was one of Herbert Hoover's aims when he established the B.A.E.F. in 1920. It was his belief and hope that the common cause of higher education would continue and strengthen the warm friendship, that existed between Belgium and the United States at that time, as a result of the work of the Commission for Relief in Belgium.
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