Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

Call for Proposals is now: OPEN

Deadline: March 10, 2017

The U.S. Embassy in Slovak Republic, Bratislava is now accepting applications for the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institutes for young Americans and Europeans. One four-week Institute will take place in June – July 2017. The Institute will be designed for 35 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. All costs of the participants will be covered.

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.

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. 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.

Applicant Description:

Applicants should have a strong interest in learning more about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democracy, and 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. English fluency is required.

Applicants must exhibit serious interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and demonstrate a genuine desire to learn first-hand about the United States and its people, society, and institutions. Applicants must also 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 countries. In addition, Fellows 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.

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Be 16, 17, or 18 years of age as of June 24, 2017;
  • Highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
  • Committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2017, following completion of the Institute;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Sustained 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;
  • 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.

In order to apply, please submit the completed Application Form (PDF 233 KB) (Word Document 27 KB) and the Essay by March 10, 2017 via e-mail to:

Dana Polcikova
Cultural Affairs Assistant
Public Affairs Section
Tel: +421 2 59223379
Email: polcikovaD@state.gov