2017 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow Summer Institute

Application deadline: February 20, 2017

Program Hosts:  Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb are pleased to announce the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow Summer Institute.  Named after the legendary American statesman and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, the program aims to follow his example and bring Americans and Europeans closer in understanding through youth exchange.  Even 300 years after his birth, Franklin’s life offers inspiration to today’s young citizens to bridge the Atlantic.

What is the Ben Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute?

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is an intensive short term exchange program whose purpose is to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an awareness of shared values.  The four week program will enable youth, ages 16-18, to explore U.S. and European policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity.  During the academic residency, participants will also 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 also explore how freedom of expression provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens.

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.

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.

How can I apply?

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.

Nominees will have shown 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.  If selected, nominees are 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.

All program costs will be covered by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. 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 location of the Summer Institute and back.

Candidates must:

  • Be Croatian citizens;
  • Be born between June 24, 1998, and June 24, 2001 (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 (not obligatory, the Embassy will conduct an interview with top candidates);
  • Be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home country in fall 2017, 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;
  • Demonstrate a 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;
  • Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
  • 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, and comfortable with engaging various Americans in the broader community.
  • • Be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

Application:  (MS Word format: 35KBPDF format: 248KB)

Completed applications (together with two essays – 700 words maximum each), two recommendation letters (teachers, trainers, coaches …), academic records from the last year (may be in Croatian) should be emailed to the U.S. Embassy by February 20, 2017. 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:  zagrebbenfranklin@state.gov

If you don’t receive an automated reply confirming receipt of your application within 24 hours, your email was not received, and you should contact us by phone or email to ratkovicv@state.gov immediately. For all questions, please contact Ms. Vanja Ratkovic at 01 661 2206 (between 1 PM and 3 PM, Monday-Friday) or by email to ratkovicv@state.gov