Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship 2022

Program hosts: Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy Zagreb are pleased to announce the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship 2022. The four-week program addresses U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, the development of democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity. The program is scheduled to take place in-person from June 25 to July 23, 2022, subject to the feasibility and safety of in-person programming. The program will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

What is the Ben Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship?

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive, short-term exchange program, created to foster relationships between young Europeans and Americans to build strong bonds and become aware of shared values. The four-week program will allow students ages 16-18 to explore US 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, discussions and presentations in seminars, as well as a wide range of practical workshops, led by professors and mentors. Courses and classroom activities will be supplemented with community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of American society during their exchange.

During the program, 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, misinformation and the media. The program will explore how freedom of expression confers rights and imposes responsibilities on citizens. Upon returning home, participants will implement service projects in their communities and present an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-focused organization in their home country. These organizations may include American Mission Youth Councils, American Spaces, and Exchange Alumni Associations.

Who can apply?

Successful applicants must have a keen interest in learning more about diplomacy, transatlantic relations, the role of a free press in a democracy, and an interest in public or community service. They must have a strong interest in communications, advocacy, debate and/or civic participation. They must have the academic aptitude for a program of this intensity and the personal qualities needed to succeed, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility and open-mindedness. These factors are particularly important given the Institute’s diverse group atmosphere. Fluency in English is required.

Applicants will have demonstrated a serious interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home country and will have demonstrated a genuine desire to learn more about the United States, its people, society, and institutions. If selected, candidates must participate fully and seriously in all program components during the month, as well as in follow-up activities afterwards in their home country. Additionally, participants should be prepared to inform and educate Americans about their home country’s cultures and societies through unstructured meetings and public presentations.

Due to COVID vaccination requirements in several cities that will host BFTF programming, including Washington DC, Chicago and Philadelphia, COVID vaccinations will be required. If organizers determine that conditions do not permit an in-person U.S.-based exchange, Purdue University will transition the 2022 program to a virtual platform.

All program costs will be covered by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb. Since many participants will be minors and will be traveling alone from their home country, the US host institution will provide adult chaperones to accompany participants on flights between one or two European airports to the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship location and return.

Applicants must:

  • Be Croatian citizens;
  • Be born between June 26, 2004 and June 26, 2006 (i.e. be 16, 17 or 18 years old at the start of the program). Be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or standardized test results (the test is not mandatory, the Embassy will conduct an interview with the best candidates);
  • be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
  • commit to enrolling in high school or university in their home country in the fall of 2022, after the program ends;
  • demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • demonstrate a serious interest in learning more about the United States;
  • demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher endorsements;
  • demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
  • have had little or no prior U.S. education or U.S. travel experience;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and curious;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, with community service and educational trips;
  • be comfortable with campus life, shared housing, travel, and interaction with a mixed multinational group of participants from across Europe and the United States;
  • be comfortable with the Americans they meet in host communities; and
  • to be able to adapt to cultural and social practices different from those of their country of origin. Be able to adapt to cultural and social practices different from those of their country of origin.

How to register?

To apply, please complete the application form available here: 2022_Ben_Franklin_application

Please send in one email, attached the following:

  • completed application form in English, accompanied by two essays
  • A signed and scanned letter of recommendation (teachers, coaches, coaches or similar adults who know you and your skills and talents, no family members). Be sure to include their contacts in the letter. Letters of recommendation must demonstrate that you are an ideal candidate for this program and can be written in Croatian.
  • Academic records from the last year (no need for translation if in Croatian, send a scanned copy).
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Please do not send additional documents such as: copies of awards, diplomas, etc. (please list all your accomplishments under R. in the application). If we need additional documents, we will request them.
  • Note: You will not be notified of final results until April 2022. If you have University Entrance Exams in July, we recommend that you do not apply as we cannot move the dates for this program.

Please send complete documentation by email only to: [email protected]

Application deadline: 12:00 p.m. (noon) on February 21, 2022

You should receive an automated email response when you submit your application, confirming that your application has been received. If you do not receive it within 24 hours, your email was not received and you should contact us by email at [email protected] at once.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Mislav Sucec by email at [email protected]. No phone inquiries. Emails will be answered in the order in which they are received during normal business hours.

James C. Tibbs