2016 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institutes

The Supreme Court Building is the seat of the Supreme Court of the United States. Photo by: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau)

The US Embassy in Minsk announces the application season for the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute, an intensive four-week exchange program for young people aged 16-18 years that focuses on the global issues faced by European and American youth on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Deadline for applications is March 18, 2016.

The initiative is named after the legendary American statesman and diplomat Benjamin Franklin. His 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 young citizens of today in the effort to bridge the Atlantic. As a diplomat and a printer, he leveraged the powers of diplomacy and of the media to explore how Americans and Europeans see each other and the world.

The goals of the Institute are to develop a commitment to transatlantic cooperation, to foster relationships between American and European youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups, and to develop a cadre of youth leaders who will share their knowledge and skills with their peers through positive action.

The four-week Institute, offered from June 25 to July 23, 2016, will accommodate up to 45 European and 10 American Fellows. It will be hosted by Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

One principal and one alternate candidate will be chosen from Belarus.

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 volunteer service, 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 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.

Eligibility Requirements

A successful candidate must:

  • be citizens of Belarus;
  • be 16, 17, or 18 years of age as of June 25, 2016;
  • be highly proficient in English;
  • demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • have a record of sustained high 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, coed 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 the home country.

Please email your completed application form to the U.S. Embassy in Minsk by March 18, 2016 to belarusprogram@state.gov.