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Franklin Fellows Initiative

2015 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellow Summer Institute

Institute will take place from June 27 to July 25, 2015.

Application deadline: February 15, 2015

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb are pleased to announce a summer institute for young 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.

Two four-week Institutes, offered in summer 2015, will accommodate up to 90 Fellows total. Each Institute, one at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and the other at Purdue University in Indiana, will be designed for 35 European students and 10 Americans, ages 16 to 18.  Institute activities include discussion of global issues of common interest, leadership and media training, collaborative project development, community service, educational travel, and plans for follow-on activities.

The Summer Institutes will enable teenagers, ages 16-18, to participate in an intensive, four-week exchange program in the United States that focuses on global issues facing both European and American youth.  The Institutes will focus primarily on an exploration of issues through interactive activities, practical experiences, and other hands-on opportunities.  Participants will learn more 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 Institutes 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.

Community service activities, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families will deepen the Fellows’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.  After the Institute, in addition to implementing service projects in their home communities, the Fellows will present what they have learned as well as an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country. These may include U.S. Embassy Youth Councils, American Corners or American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Program Hosts:  Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, will continue to host separate institutes during summer 2015.  The content of both programs will be similar even though exact topics will vary.

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.
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.

Both Institutes will take place from June 27 to July 25, 2015. Participant’s costs will be supported 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 who will accompany participants on flights between one or two European airports to the location of the Summer Institute and back.

Candidate Qualifications:
• Croatian citizenship;
• Be 16, 17, or 18 years of age as of June 27, 2015;
• Highly proficient in English;
• Committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home country in fall 2015, 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;
• Sustained 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;
• Willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
• 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. Able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

Application:  (MS Word format: 39KBPDF format: 265KB)

Completed application, together with a motivational essay (1000 words maximum), two recommendations, academic records from the last year and any other supplemental documents (awards, competitions ….) should be sent to the U.S. Embassy by February 15, 2015.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Please send complete documentation to the address below

Ms. Vanja Ratkovic
Public Affairs Office/ For Benjamin Franklin Fellowship
U.S. Embassy
Thomasa Jeffersona 2
10010 Zagreb

or by email to:

You should receive an automatic email reply when you send your application, confirming that your application was received. If you don’t receive it, your email was not received and you should contact us by phone immediately.

For all questions, please contact Vanja Ratkovic at 01 661 2206

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