As the U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, I want to commend Fulbright Greece on its response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the State Department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory on March 19 and the Fulbright Program was suspended for all U.S. participants, Artemis and her team at Fulbright Greece moved quickly and efficiently to ensure the safe return of our grantees to the United States. I know they were in good hands.
To our U.S. grantees, I should first acknowledge how disruptive this unplanned, early departure from Greece must have been to your lives. And to our Greek grantees, whether you are returning home or have decided to shelter in place in the U.S., we are thinking of you and wish you continued good health.
I can easily understand how difficult it was for all of you to wrap up your research and say goodbye to your contacts, students, and friends on such short notice. Your health, safety, and well-being were, and remain, our chief concern. We look forward to engaging with you as Fulbright alumni and hope that you will continue to nurture your many relationships with Greece in the years ahead.
The relationship between the United States and Greece is at an all-time high, and we are deeply grateful for our superb cooperation with the Greek government at such a challenging moment. Minister of Education Kerameus has demonstrated her commitment to expanding exchange opportunities and collaboration between Greek and American educational institutions. Exchanges like our flagship Fulbright Program are an investment in the future of U.S.-Greece relations, and we will do everything we can to help ensure that no momentum is lost on that front.
Fulbright Greece is the longest-running Fulbright exchange program in Europe, and for over 70 years, it has strengthened the rich and textured relationship between our countries. Artemis and her team have adapted rapidly to this new era of social distancing, and they continue to offer their services to students online while completing the selection and notification process for the 2020-2021 scholarship application cycle. We look forward to welcoming these new scholars, students, and teaching fellows in the coming months.
Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt is the Honorary Chairman of the Fulbright Board of Directors