2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship

2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship
Opportunity for High School Students

Deadline for application:  February 15, 2023

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon are pleased to announce the 2023 cycle of this intensive short-term exchange program created to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and awareness of shared values. The fellowship 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 connector, someone whose career, interests, studies, and life took him back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, bringing Americans and Europeans closer in understanding

The program will enable selected teenagers, ages 16-18, to participate in an intensive four-week exchange program in the United States that focuses on the global issues facing both European and  American youth.  The fellowship will enable students 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 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, 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. Mission Youth Councils, American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.


The program can accommodate persons with disabilities.


Applicants should have a strong interest in learning about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democratic society, and public or community service.  They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, and or civic participation.  They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this nature and the personal qualities needed to be successful, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. English fluency is required and subject to testingas throughout the program participants will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.


It is important that applicants exhibit serious interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in Portugal, and demonstrate a genuine desire to learn first-hand about the United States, its people, society, and institutions. Participants will be expected to fully and seriously take part 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.

Note that participants will NOT be permitted to leave the program to visit relatives or friends in the United States and will not be able to arrive in the country early nor remain in the U.S. after the program closes.

The program is scheduled to take place from June 24-July 22, 2023, contingent upon public heath status and the feasibility and safety of travel.

All participant’s costs, including accident and sickness insurance, will be funded by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon.

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.


Candidate Qualifications

– Portuguese citizenship; live in Portugal;– be born between June 25, 2004, and June 24, 2007 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start);– be highly proficient in English, as demonstrable in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;– be committed to remaining in high school or enrolling university in their home countries during autumn of 2023, 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;

– be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries;

– be able to show proof of the COVID19 vaccination, required to participate in the program; and

– be eligible for a J-1 visa (which will be paid for by the U.S. State Department including travel to Lisbon for visa application).


Application (please copy the following to a Word document, respecting the same order):

  1. First name
  2. Middle name(s)
  3. Last name
  4. Gender
  5. Date of birth (month in letters/day/year)
  6. City of birth
  7. Country of birth
  8. Country of citizenship
  9. Do you have a Passport (Y/N)
  10. Passport number if issued
  11. Country of Residence
  12. Full Address with City, Region and Postal Code
  13. Applicant telephone number if separate
  14. Parent(s) cell number or numbers and names
  15. E-mail address of applicant
  16. Position (“Secondary School Student”, “University Undergraduate Student”, or “Special School, Institute, or Vocational Student”);
  17. Current School/ University: name, city and postal code
  18. Medical, Dietary or Personal Considerations including visual, mobility or hearing limitations
  19. Describe your coursework and training
  20. Previous travel or study experience in the United States. Please include dates, length of stay, and purpose.
  21. Any other relevant educational, academic and professional experience or training. Please also note any special honors or awards received, active memberships, special interests, or extracurricular activities
  22. Have you any evidence of competence in written and oral English? (e.g., test score, etc.) – (Describe, then attach to or include in your e-mail)
  23. Please tell us in 250 words or less, what qualifies you for this intercultural experience
  24. Describe in 200 words your future study or career plans


Please e-mail your Word document as an attachment to the U.S. Embassy Lisbon lisbonbfscholars@state.gov, no later than February 15, 2023.