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2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute
The submission deadline for the applications is 18:00 (local Georgian time) February 23, 2023. 

The U.S Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute for the summer of 2023. The program is scheduled to take place in-person from June 24 to July 22, 2023, contingent upon the feasibility and safety of in-person programming. The four-week program addresses U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy and civil society development, and economic prosperity.  The program will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive short-term exchange program, created to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and awareness of shared values.  The four- week program will enable students, ages 16-18, to explore U.S. 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, 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 program, participants also will 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, disinformation, and the media.  The program will 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. These organizations may include U.S. Mission Youth Councils, American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Candidates must exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries and convey a genuine desire to learn about the United States and its people, society, and institutions.  They are expected to fully participate in the academic program and the follow-on activities afterward in their home countries.  They should attend all lectures and organized activities, complete assigned readings, and be ready to share their culture with Americans.    

All candidates are expected to 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 intensity and the personal qualities needed to be successful, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. Participants will be taught to develop plans for follow-on activities and are expected to implement them in their schools and communities upon return home.

All participants should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to travel to the United States. While we remain hopeful and anticipate that the in-person exchange will take place in 2023, the health and safety of program participants, staff, and host families are our top priority.  Should logistical, administrative, and/or health-related challenges associated with the global pandemic deteriorate and make the exchange unfeasible, alternative programming will take place, which may include a robust virtual exchange.

Candidates nominated for this Fellowship should:

– be born between June 24, 2005, and June 24, 2007 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start).
– be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
– be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2023, following completion of the program;
– demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
– indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
– demonstrate a high level of 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, with community service and educational travel;
– be comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the United States;
– be comfortable engaging with the Americans they meet in the host communities; and
– be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

Please send an application package with the following documents included as three attachments in one email with a subject line “2023 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute” to TbilisiExchanges@state.gov

  1. Completed application form, including two essays – as one document, in Word Document format. 
  2. One recommendation letter in English language by your current high school teacher or university professor, scanned as one document in PDF or JPG format.  
  3. For high school students – An original copy of school grades for the fall semester of 2022 year, in Georgian or English scanned as one document in PDF or JPG format. 
    For university students – if grades for the fall semester of 2022 year are not available yet, please provide grades for the latest available, spring semester of 2022 year, or an original copy of the high school transcript in Georgian or English scanned as one document in PDF or JPG format.

The submission deadline for the applications is 18:00 (local Georgian time) February 23, 2023.
Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed end of February; final selection and placement will be made in spring 2023.