2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship – Call for Applications

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 teenagers, 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 home-stays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.

During the academic residency, 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, and the media.  The institute 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 the U.S. Mission Youth Councils, American Corners or American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Program Host:  Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.


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 exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and convey a genuine desire to learn first-hand about the United States, its people, society, and institutions.

Participant’s costs will be fully covered by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs.

Candidate must:


be born between :  July 22, 2001  and  June 22, 2004.  (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 2020, 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.


How to apply?


  1. Please submit your application by sending one email with the following information attached: Completed application form ( 2020 BFTF Application) in English, including two essays – 500 words maximum each – also in English.

  2. Two signed and scanned recommendation letters (by teachers, trainers, coaches, advisers or similar adults that know you and your skills and talents, no family members). Recommendation letters need to demonstrate your strengths for this program and can be written in Montenegrin. The recommenders should use this form: (2019 BFTF Recommendation Form)

  3. Most recent academic record (no need for translation if in Montenegrin, send a scanned copy).


Please send complete documentation by email only to PodgoricaExchanges@state.gov with the subject line: 2020 BFTF Application.


Application deadline: February 2, 2020 by 17:00 local time.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

Please do not send additional materials such as: copies of awards, diplomas etc. (please list all your achievements under R. in the application).  If we need additional documents, we will ask for them.