Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute

Competition for the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow Summer Institute is closed.

Thank your for your interest.

 

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon are pleased to announce a summer institute for young Americans and Europeans. The initiative 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 man, someone whose career, interests, studies, and life took him back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, bringing Americans and Europeans closer in understanding.  Even 300 years after his birth, Franklin’s life offers inspiration to today’s young citizens to bridge the Atlantic.  As a diplomat and a printer, he leveraged the powers of diplomacy and the media to explore how Americans and Europeans see each other and the world.

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 the global issues facing both European and American youth.    The institute will address U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy and civil society development, 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 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.  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.

Nominees 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.

It is important that nominees have exhibited 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. It is also very important that nominees 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 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.

The Institute will take place in the United States.  Participant’s costs will be supported by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon.

Candidate Qualifications

a. Portuguese citizenship;
b. Live in Portugal;
c. Be born between June 24, 1998 and June 24, 2001;
d. Highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview;
e. Committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home country in fall 2017, following completion of the Institute;
f. Demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
g. Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
h. Be ready to share their culture with Americans;
i. Sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
j. Demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
k. Have had little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States;
l. Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive;
m. Willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
n. 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.
o. Able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

Application:

A. First name;
B. Middle name(s);
C. Last name;
D. Passport issued?
E. Gender;
F. Date of birth (month in letters/day/year);
G. City of birth;
H. Country of birth;
I. Country of residence;
J. Country of citizenship;
K. Full address;
L. Home/ cell number;
M. Parent(s) cell number;
N. E-mail address(es);
O. Medical, Dietary, or Personal Considerations;
P. Position (“Secondary School Student”, “University Undergraduate Student”, or “Special School, Institute, or Vocational Student”);
Q. Name and city of current school;
R. Nominee’s field of study;
S. Any other relevant educational, academic and professional experience or training. Please also note any special honors or awards received;
T. Active memberships, special interests, or extracurricular activities;
U. Previous travel or study experience in the United States. Please include dates, length of stay, and purpose;
V. Evidence of competence in written and oral English (e.g., test score, etc.);
W. Future study or career plans;
X. Tell us in 150 words or less, why you should be chosen for this intercultural experience.

Complete application should be sent to the U.S. Embassy Lisbon, lisbonbfscholars@state.gov no later than March 10, 2017.