The Fulbright Programme educational exchange scheme has been announced as the winner of the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.
Twenty nominees from 13 different countries were in the running for the honour, which is the sixth of eight international awards bestowed by the Prince of Asturias Foundation each year.
The programme was deemed to have provided an outstanding contribution to universal education at an international level.
It will receive 50,000 euros and a statue created especially by Spanish sculptor Joan Miró.
Jury chairman Gustavo Suárez Pertierra explained why the panel of 17 had chosen the Fulbright Programme as its winner.
“The jury praised the international nature of the programme, their willingness to improve the overall education of our youth by providing access to academic excellence, and the ability to engage civil society in each of the nations in which it is implanted,” he announced.
Founded in 1946 by United States Senator J. William Fulbright, the programme provides funding for learning, teaching and research in areas deemed global.
Students, scholars, teachers and professionals can apply for a grant to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.
It is an educational exchange programme, sponsored by the US government, which awards 8,000 highly competitive merit-based grants annually.
The scheme was established as a means of increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills.
In more than 65 years of its existence, over 300,000 students have participated in over 155 countries.
Fifty three Fulbright alumni have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and 78 have won Pulitzer Prizes.
This is the 34th year of the Prince of Asturias Awards, held in Oviedo, the capital of the Asturias region in northern Spain.
The awards ceremony will take place in October 2014.