Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow Summer Institute

Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow Summer Institute will take place in summer, June 25 – July 23, 2016

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade are pleased to announce a summer institute for young Europeans. The initiative is named after the legendary American statesman and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, in honor of the inspiration that his own life and career provides to those who are working to strengthen transatlantic cooperation. In today’s terms, Franklin could be called a transatlantic man, someone whose career, interests, studies, and life took him back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, bringing Americans and Europeans closer in understanding. Even 300 years after his birth, Franklin’s life offers inspiration to today’s young citizens to bridge the Atlantic. As a diplomat and a printer, he leveraged the powers of diplomacy and the media to explore how Americans and Europeans see each other and the world.

Benjamin Franklin

The goals of the Institute are (1) to develop a commitment to transatlantic cooperation; (2) to foster relationships between American and European youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups; (3) to promote mutual understanding between the United States and Europe, and (4) to develop a cadre of youth leaders who will share their knowledge and skills with their peers through positive action.

One four-week Institute, offered in summer 2016, will accommodate up to 55 Fellows total, 45 European students and 10 Americans, ages 16 to 18. Institute activities include discussion of global issues of common interest, leadership and media training, collaborative project development, community service, educational travel, and plans for follow-on activities.

The Summer Institute will enable teenagers, ages 16-18, to participate in an intensive, four-week exchange program in the United States that focuses on global issues facing both European and American youth. The Institute will focus primarily on an exploration of issues through interactive activities, practical experiences, and other hands-on opportunities. Participants will learn more about democratic practices, volunteer service, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking, tolerance and respect for diversity, youth leadership, team building, and the media. The Institute also explores how freedom of expression both provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens. Fellows will participate in a variety of activities such as training sessions, workshops, community-based programs, study tours, and cultural events.

Community service activities, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families will deepen the Fellows’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange. After the Institute, in addition to implementing service projects in their home communities, the Fellows will present what they have learned as well as an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country. These may include U.S. Embassy Youth Councils, American Corners or American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Program Hosts: Wake Forest University, North Carolina

Successful Nominees will have a strong interest in learning more about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democracy, and an interest in public or community service. They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, or civic participation. They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this nature and personal qualities needed to be successful participants, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. These factors are particularly important given the Institute’s diverse group atmosphere. English fluency is required. It is important that nominees have exhibited serious interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and demonstrate a genuine desire to learn first-hand about the United States, its people, society, and institutions. It is also very important that nominees understand that, if selected, they will be expected to fully and seriously participate in all program components during the month, as well as in follow-up activities afterward in their home country. In addition, participants should be ready to inform and educate Americans about the cultures and societies of their home countries in non-structured gatherings and in public presentations. Participant’s costs will be supported by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.

Since many participants will be minors and will be traveling from their home country alone, the U.S. host institution will provide adult chaperones who will accompany participants on flights between one or two European airports to the location of the Summer Institute and back.

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Serbian citizenship;
  • Be 16, 17, or 18 years of age as of July 1, 2016;
  • Be a member of one of eight American Corners in Serbia
  • Highly proficient in English;
  • Committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home country in fall 2016, following completion of the Institute program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Sustained high level academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
  • Have had little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States;
  • Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive;
  • Willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
  • Comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, coed group of participants from across Europe and the United States, and comfortable with engaging various Americans in the broader community. Able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

Application: Please download the application by clicking on this link. 

Completed application, together with two essays – 700 words maximum each should be sent to the U.S. Embassy by March 5, 2016. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Please do not send copies of awards, diplomas etc. (please list all your achievements under R. in the application).

Please send complete documentation to the email only:[email protected]

You should receive an automatic email reply when you send your application, confirming that your application was received. 

Only short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview.


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