It gives me great pleasure to inform you of the Department of State’s “Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Initiative: Summer Institute”, to be held in the United States between June 27 and July 25, 2015. This initiative is open to youth aged 16 to 18. The program honors American statesman and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, whose life and career strengthened transatlantic cooperation. The purpose of the initiative is foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to promote freedom globally and advance shared values. Even 300 years after his birth, Franklin’s life inspires young citizens to build bridges.
The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute
The Institute’s goals 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 young leaders who will share their knowledge and skills with their peers through positive action.
About 35 Europeans and 10 Americans will participate in an intensive, three to four-week exchange focused on common challenges that youth on both sides of the Atlantic face in the 21st century. The Institute explores global issues through interactive activities, practical experiences, and other hands-on opportunities. Participants will learn 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 looks at how young people interact with media and how the freedom of expression both provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens.
Students will participate in a variety of activities such as training sessions, workshops, community-based programs, study tours, and cultural events. Community service activities, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families will deepen the Fellows' experience of U.S. society during their exchange. Thirty-five European students and ten Americans will be selected to participate in one of two Institutes.
Upon returning home, Fellows are encouraged to implement service projects in their home communities and share what they have learned with youth-serving or youth-centered organizations.
We invite you to share this opportunity with all students aged 16 to 18 and nominate candidates from your school who you believe would benefit from and contribute to the Institute. Nominees should 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; a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, or civic participation; the academic aptitude for a program of this nature; and personal qualities such as maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. Ideally nominees will have little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the U.S. Participants must be Maltese citizens. Dual U.S./Maltese citizens are not eligible. Fluency in English is essential.
Nominees must demonstrate a serious interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in civic society in Malta, and demonstrate a genuine desire to learn first hand about the United States, its people, society, and institutions. The selected candidate will be expected to fully and seriously participate in all program components during the Institute, as well as in follow up activities in Malta. In addition, he/she should be ready to inform and educate Americans about the culture of Malta in non-structured gatherings and in public presentations. The candidates must be 16, 17 or 18 years of age as of June 27. Applicants must not be older than 18 as of July 25.
International travel costs and visa costs will be paid by the U.S. Embassy. Tuition, ground transportation in the U.S., food and accommodation expenses will be paid by the Department of State's Office of Education and Cultural Affairs. The successful candidate will only need personal spending money.
The closing date for nominations is Friday, February 20, 2015. The U.S. Embassy will conduct an initial screening of applications. The applicants selected will be invited to an interview with a number of Embassy officials after which the applications will be forwarded to the Department of State for consideration. The final decision on which candidate will participate in the program rests solely with the Department of State.
We look forward to receiving your nomination on or before February 20, 2015.
The nominee form can be downloaded from here