U.S. invites Greek youth to apply for 2024 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship


The U.S. Embassy in Athens and the Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department invites Greek youth candidate nominations for the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship.

The deadline for applications is tomorrow February 22, 2024.

The four-week institute addresses U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy and civil society development, and economic prosperity.  The program will take place in person from June 22 to July 20, 2024  The program will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Candidates nominated for this Fellowship will:

  • have been born between June 23, 2005, and June 22, 2008 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start).

Program Description:

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 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. Youth Councils, American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Program Funding:

Through the award given to Purdue University, Athens U.S. Embassy, will cover all costs of the exchange program. (These expenses include domestic travel in the home country, including a visit to Athens for visa interview: round trip international travel to the United States; passport fees; a travel allowance; pre-departure orientation costs; and alumni activities.

U.S. Embassy Athens will be responsible for making all travel arrangements and providing international airline tickets for their participants to fly round-trip to Indianapolis airport in Indiana and return from Washington D.C. Participant will be given detailed travel information for the participation once  completed the selection process.  Since most participants will be minors and will be traveling from their home country alone, Purdue University will provide adult chaperones to accompany participants on flights between one or two selected European airports to the United States and back.

Program Requirements and Restrictions:

Candidates must demonstrate 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.  They should be made aware that the program is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.

Health Benefits:

Participants will be covered by ECA’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefits program.  Purdue University is responsible for enrolling participants. ASPE is a limited, health benefit program (not insurance) that covers medical expenses associated with each illness or accident up to $100,000 per occurrence. ASPE does not cover routine examinations or pre-existing conditions. ASPE information is available at http://www.usdos.sevencorners.com.

We will convey this information to participants at the pre-departure orientation. Participants are encouraged to read the ASPE benefit guide in its entirety, to obtain a full understanding of health benefits, coverage, and limitations.

Visa Issuance:

All foreign participants must travel to the United States on J-1 visas, under the International Visitor government designation.

There should be no fees incurred for the J-1 visa application.

Participants are not allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the institute or to remain in the U.S. after its end date.  Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions are made clear to all candidates before their nominations are submitted.

English Language Ability:  All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Purdue University will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of participants may vary and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for those whose first language is not English.

Candidate Description and Qualifications:  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.

Candidates nominated for this Fellowship are expected to:

  • have been born between June 23, 2005, and June 22, 2008 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start).
  • demonstrate high proficiency 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 2024, following completion of the institute;
  • 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.

(Source: US Embassy Athens)

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024