2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship
Call for Proposals is now: OPEN
The application deadline is midnight on Tuesday, February 21, 2023
The Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin are pleased to invite German high school students to apply for a four-week summer Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship.
The program is scheduled to take place in-person from June 24-July 22, 2023, contingent upon the feasibility and safety of in-person programming. The four-week program addresses U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy and civil society development, and economic prosperity. The program will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
All program costs will be covered by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. This program is only open to German citizens and legal permanent residents of Germany.
The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive short-term exchange program, created to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and awareness of shared values. The four-week program will enable students, ages 16-18, to explore U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity. The program will consist of a series of lectures, seminar discussions and presentations, and a broad assortment of practical, faculty- and mentor-led workshops. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.
During the program, participants will have the opportunity to discuss other topics such as democratic practices, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking, tolerance and respect for diversity, youth leadership, team building, disinformation, and the media. The program will explore how freedom of expression provides rights to, and imposes responsibilities on, citizens. Upon their return home, participants will implement service projects in their communities and present an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country. These organizations may include U.S. Youth Councils, American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.
U.S. Program Requirements and Restrictions: Candidates must demonstrate interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries and convey a genuine desire to learn about the United States and its people, society, and institutions. They are expected to fully participate in the academic program and the follow-on activities in their home countries. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, complete assigned readings, and be ready to share their culture with Americans. They should be made aware that the program is very intensive and that there will be no time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
Preference will be given to individuals who have not previously traveled to the United States, either privately or on any U.S. government-sponsored program. Participants must have strong English skills to participate in this program.
Follow-On: The program includes a strong emphasis on follow-on projects. Participants will be taught to develop plans for follow-on activities and are expected to implement them in their schools and communities upon return home.
Visa Issuance and Travel Arrangements: All foreign participants will travel to the United States on J-1 visas. Participants are not allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the program or to remain in the U.S. after its end date. Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
The U.S. Embassy in Berlina will be responsible for making all travel arrangements and providing international airline tickets for their participants to fly round-trip to Indianapolis airport in Indiana and return from Washington, D.C. Since most participants will be minors and will be traveling from their home country alone, Purdue University will provide adult chaperones to accompany participants on flights between one or two selected European airports to the United States and back.
COVID-19 Information: The implementing partner organization requires that all participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to travel to the United States. Please note: While we remain hopeful and anticipate that the in-person exchange will take place in 2023, the health and safety of program participants, staff, and host families are our top priority. Should logistical, administrative, and/or health-related challenges associated with the global pandemic deteriorate and make the exchange unfeasible, the ECA program office will work closely with Purdue University and participating embassies to plan for alternative programming, which may include a robust virtual exchange.
Health Benefits: Participants will be covered by ECA’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefits program; Purdue University is responsible for enrolling participants. ASPE is a limited, health benefit program (not insurance) that covers medical expenses associated with each illness or accident up to $100,000 per occurrence. ASPE does not cover routine examinations or pre-existing conditions. ASPE information is available at www.sevencorners.com/gov/USDOS. Posts should convey this information to participants at the pre-departure orientation. Participants are strongly encouraged to read the ASPE benefit guide in its entirety, to obtain a full understanding of health benefits, coverage, and limitations.
Candidates nominated for this Fellowship will:
– be born between June 25, 2004, and June 26, 2007 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start).
– be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
– be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2022, following completion of the program;
– demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
– indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
– demonstrate a high level of 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;
– be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, with community service and educational travel;
– be comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the United States;
– be comfortable engaging with the Americans they meet in the host communities; and
– be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.
Candidates must exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries and convey a genuine desire to learn about the United States and its people, society, and institutions. They are expected to fully participate in the academic program and the follow-on activities in their home countries. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, complete assigned readings, and be ready to share their culture with Americans. They should be made aware that the program is very intensive and that there will be no time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
If you are interested, please submit
– A completed application form (doc) – please do not save as pdf.
– A statement of interest – please include a description of your past and present contributions to your community.
– A 1-minute video answering the following questions:
- What makes you the best candidate for the BFTF program for young leaders?
- How would you become an engaged member of the #BFTF community upon returning to Germany?
– A reference letter from a teacher, coach, or trainer.
– A copy of your Zeugnis.
by Monday, February 21, 2023, through USEmbassyCultureRSVP@state.gov