The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute – June and July

group of 5 highschool students debating
U.S. Diplomacy Center

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute – June and July 2020

Program description

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 teenagers, 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 academic residency, participants also 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, and the media.  The institute 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 the U.S. Mission Youth Councils, American Corners or American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

The Institute will take place in June and July 2020; exact dates will be communicated at a later time.

Program Host:  The program will take place at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Participant Numbers

U.S. Embassy Berlin will nominate one principal and one alternate candidate for the Institute.  The participants must travel on a J-1 visa and therefore holders of U.S. passports are ineligible to be nominated by U.S. Embassy Berlin.  The Department of State will approve candidates.


Funding for all U.S.-based activities, in-country and international travel expenses will be provided by the Department of State.  These expenses include domestic travel in the home country, such as a visit to post for a visa interview; round trip international travel to the United States; a travel allowance; pre-departure orientation; and alumni activities

Travel arrangements
U.S. Embassy will be responsible for making all travel arrangements and providing international airline tickets for their participants to Greensboro airport in North Carolina in the United States.

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

Candidate Qualifications

Please note that U.S. passport holders are not allowed to participate in the program.

a. Be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start (be born between June 22, 2000, and June 22, 2003);
b. Highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
c. Committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2019, following completion of the Institute;
d. Demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
e. Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
f. Sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
g. Demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
h. Have had little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States;
i. Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive;
j. Willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
k. 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.


U.S. Embassy will follow up with the participants after the U.S. Institute and support them in alumni activities appropriate to the program goals.  The U.S. host institution will also provide long-distance support to alumni.


If you are interested, please submit

– A completed application form (doc, please save as pdf);
– A statement of interest – please include a description of your past and present contributions to your community;
– A reference letter from a teacher, coach or trainer;
– A copy of your Zeugnis.

by Monday, February 24, 2020 through