Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows and Summer Institute Programs
The U.S. Embassy in Cyprus is pleased to accept applications for the 2022 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows (BFTF) and the 2022 Summer Institute programs for upper secondary school students. Please review the program information and eligibility requirements below before proceeding to submit an application.
Applications are accepted only through the online form by 23:59, Sunday, February 13, 2022.
Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows (BFTF):
BFTF 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 through a series of lectures, seminar discussions and presentations, and a broad assortment of practical, mentor-led workshops. 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, exploring how freedom of expression provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens. Upon their return, participants are expected to implement service projects in their communities and present an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country.
U.S. Embassy Cyprus will select one primary nominee and one alternate nominee to participate in the 2022 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship, scheduled to take place at Purdue University, Indiana, between June 25 and July 23, 2022 contingent upon the feasibility and safety of in-person programming.
More information on this program is available here.
U.S. Embassy Cyprus Summer Institute:
Pending funding availability, the U.S. Embassy will also offer a fully funded program modeled after BFTF for a small number of Cypriot students who will travel to the United States as a group in the summer of 2022 for a short, 10 days or less, customized program at a U.S. university. Applicants to the 2022 BFTF program are automatically considered for this program without the need for a separate application.
Eligibility criteria and selection process apply for both programs.
Both programs are funded by the U.S. Government and provide a full scholarship for participants, which covers visa, travel, lodging, educational materials, ground transportation expenses, and travel insurance.
Program Requirements and Restrictions:
Candidates must exhibit 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 upon their return to Cyprus. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, complete assigned readings, and be ready to share their culture with Americans.
Both programs are very intensive and there will be no time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. Participants are NOT allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the program or to remain in the U.S. after its end date.
Eligibility criteria and selection process below apply for both the BFTF and the Summer Institute programs.
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 possess 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.
To be considered, candidates should:
- be born between June 26, 2003, and June 26, 2006 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start);
- obtain consent from their legal guardian(s) to travel to the U.S. and participate in either program, unless they are over the age of 18 at the time of submitting their application;
- 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 Cyprus in fall 2022, 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;
- be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries; and
- be able to fly to the United States from Larnaca airport.
- U.S. citizens are not eligible to apply for this program.
- To be considered, applications need to be fully completed using Latin characters. Any applications submitted in part or in whole in Greek or Turkish language will not be reviewed.
- Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Commonly asked questions related to COVID19:
- What are the plans for BFTF and the Summer Institute programs if health and travel disruptions continue through the summer due to the global health pandemic? Should the U.S. Government determine that conditions do not allow for an in-person U.S.-based exchange, we would work with the implementing partners to transition the 2022 programs to a virtual platform or proceed with similar arrangements.
- Will COVID19 vaccinations be required to participate in the programs? Yes, COVID vaccinations will be required due to vaccination requirements in multiple cities that will host the 2022 BFTF and Summer Institute programs, including Washington DC, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Commonly asked questions:
- What degree of English proficiency should a nominee have? All participants must be highly proficient in English. They will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English throughout both programs.
- Can an individual who is not a citizen of Cyprus apply? Yes. However, BFTF and Summer Institute programs are designed to further mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and Europeans. If you are not a Cypriot citizen and wish to apply, please explain clearly how your nomination will achieve this goal. All participants need to be able to travel from Larnaca airport.
- An applicant has been to the United States before; would they be disqualified? No. Nominees with minimal experience in the United States may be considered. However, priority should be given to nominees with no previous experience in the United States.
- How much free time will a participant have during the programs? There will be some limited free time during each of the programs. However, applicants must understand that these are intensive academic programs and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.
- If a nominee has relatives in the U.S., would they have time to see them? Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the program to visit relatives or friends. On rare occasions it is possible for a pre-approved visit on a specific day designated by the host institution, if the schedule permits. These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the program officers and the host institutions.
- How important is it to select a gender-balanced group? Very important! We strive to have the best possible diversity and gender balance.
- Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the program? No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on these programs are required to abide by the J-1 visa rules. Participants may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the program.
- Can a participant miss one part or component of the program? No. All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.
- How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The U.S. Government will cover all basic costs of an individual’s participation in the U.S.-based exchange. Generally, the host institution will provide meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan and a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants. Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution prior to the start of the program. Participants should not expect to receive any spending money from the program. Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.
- One of our program alumni has a sibling who would like to apply to these programs. Can they apply? Yes. However, priority will be given to nominees who are unrelated to past BFTF or Summer Institute participants.
- Will applicants with disabilities be considered? Yes, we welcome nominations for individuals with disabilities. We are committed to working with Purdue University to arrange reasonable accommodations for all participants. Notification of a disability will not negatively impact selection.
- Does an applicant who will be older than 18 years of age at the program require guardian’s approval? Yes. If an applicant is younger than 18 years of age at the time of submitting the application, they need to obtain approval from their legal guardian.
HOW TO APPLY – DEADLINE
Applications should be submitted only through the online form by 23:59, Sunday, February 13, 2022. The form will close at midnight and applications will no longer be accepted.
Optional: Applicants may request someone to submit a recommendation on their behalf. Recommendations must be submitted online. (Limit of one recommendation per applicant)
Eligible applications will be reviewed and selected applicants will be invited via email to personal interview, approximately 10 days following the application deadline.