Students studying in the Helsinki University Main Library

Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies Award is available for scholars in a variety of fields and includes research and lecturing at the University of Helsinki, Department of Cultures, North American Studies program.

Purpose of the Grant Program

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair was established in 1976 to institutionalize the teaching of American history, culture and language at the University of Helsinki. It was the first chair in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program.  The Bicentennial Chair holder plays a crucial role in developing the interdisciplinary approach to American studies found at the University of Helsinki and at other Finnish universities with American studies programs.  Today it is one of the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Department of Cultures and its faculty pride themselves on having a very friendly and collegial atmosphere to pursue a variety of professional activities, such as teaching and research, research collaboration, writing joint publications with Finnish colleagues and mentoring student research at the master and doctoral level. The Chair and the North American Studies program faculty work together in designing the Chair position activities.

The Chair Position

The Chair is expected to teach one survey course and one seminar per semester in their area of expertise. The first survey course is directed to third-year BA students and the other to master’s level students. The seminars are part of the master’s program, and one of the seminars should discuss the contemporary issues of American society (for more information on contemporary seminar, please contact the Department). Contact classes will require approximately five hours per week. The Chair is furthermore invited to participate in the program’s Ph.D. seminar and in development of the North American Studies program in general. In addition to lecturing at the University of Helsinki, the Bicentennial Chair is able to network and create linkages throughout Finland and give occasional guest lectures at other Finnish universities. The Chair is requested to participate in Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright commission) activities as an application reviewer and interviewer.

Previous holders of the Chair position have represented a wide spectrum of academic fields; for example, history, political science, popular culture, American borderlands, foreign policy, intercultural communications, legal history, music in American culture, ethnography, and women's studies. Candidates should possess a broad knowledge of American social dynamics (within their field) and current issues (e.g. trade, race relations, immigration, politics, etc.) relevant for transatlantic discussions and a Finnish audience.

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair is jointly funded by the University of Helsinki and the Fulbright Finland Foundation.


The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies is available for lecturing visits of 9 months. It includes:

  • Monthly allowance of approx. 5,500 EUR (approx. 6,000 USD*). A total stipend for 9 months is 50,000 EUR (approx. 55,000 USD*).
  • Travel allowance of 2,000 USD.
  • Housing at the spacious, fully furnished Bicentennial Residence in the heart of Helsinki, about a three-minute walk from the university.
  • Medical services provided by the University of Helsinki for its faculty and staff.
  • Orientation and support services provided by Fulbright Finland in Helsinki. For example, Fulbright Finland will arrange a four-day arrival orientation in Helsinki for all American Fulbright grantees at the end of August each year.
  • Fulbright Finland arranges mid-year activities and networking opportunities (such as the American Voices Seminar at the University of Turku) each year.
  • Possible lecturing opportunities in other Finnish higher education institutions and in other European countries.

* amounts are subject to change due to currency fluctuations.

The grant is funded in co-operation by the University of Helsinki and Fulbright Finland, the Finnish Fulbright Commission. The U.S. program partner is the Institute for International Education/Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES). Further information is available at IIE/CIES.


Distinguished Chair eligibility guidelines and review criteria are published on the Council for International Exchange of Scholar (IIE/CIES) website.

In Finland the applications are evaluated according to the evaluation criteria set by the Fulbright Finland Foundation Board.

Applicants residing in Finland are not eligible for a Fulbright grant.

University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki is the leading research university in Finland and consistently ranks among the top 20 universities in Europe and the top 100 globally. The Department of Cultures is the university’s center for area and cultural studies. The North American Studies program offers a broad, multidisciplinary view on the United States and Canada, their histories, cultures and societies. The program offers studies up to the Ph.D. degree.

The Department and its faculty are committed to international and interdisciplinary teaching and research, covering, for example, Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, the Nordic countries, Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. The faculty’s scholarly interests represent a variety of fields in history, sociology, anthropology and beyond.

Together with a welcoming scholarly environment, Finland and the Chair position offer interesting opportunities for U.S. researchers and teachers, both professionally and socially. One can experience a way of life in Finland that combines a dynamic urban culture with close connection to the natural environment.

How to apply?

The application period for the academic year 2022-23 closes on September 15, 2021.

The U.S. program partner in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program is the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES). Applications are submitted through IIE/CIES, which pre-screens the applications in the United States and forwards the recommended dossiers to the Fulbright Finland in Helsinki for final selection.

Additional information, including detailed application instructions is available from the IIE/CIES website and Fulbright U.S. Scholar Catalog of Awards.

Fulbright Finland encourages potential applicants to contact the office directly with any questions.

NOTE: Late June, July and early August are traditionally summer vacation months in Finland and responses to inquiries may be delayed. Please note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation office observes the summer Finnish holiday season and is closed in July. With any urgent inquiries, kindly contact us prior to July. 



Contact Information

  Fulbright Finland Foundation
(overall program related questions)
University of Helsinki
(host institution related questions)
  Leasa Weimer, PhD
Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives
+358 44 7169 482
[email protected]
Dr. Rani-Henrik Andersson
Senior University Lecturer in North American Studies
[email protected]

Resources for Hosts


Application period start: February 1, 2021
Application period end: September 15, 2021
Earliest possible starting date: August 2022
Mandatory orientation: TBC (expected in mid-August 2022 or mid-January 2023 for scholars arriving in 2023)

Alumni Experience


What is the Fulbright Finland Foundation?

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a private, independent, not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The Foundation’s aim is

  • to promote a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, and
  • to support the internationalization of education and research in Finland, and help U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages.

What Makes the Fulbright Finland Foundation Program Unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as an access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and to make a difference – applicants who want to facilitate positive change, develop and advance their own profession or discipline, and find solutions to national and international challenges in their field.
  • The grantees also act as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, their home country, and their home organization and, in this way, do their part in sharing their home country and culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.
Global Fulbright Program logo

Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies program is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.