Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship (BFTF)
Every year, the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus accepts applications for the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Program for upper secondary school students. The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is a fully funded 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 homestays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.
During the academic residency, 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, 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. More information about the program is available at https://goo.gl/3VXqif. The program usually takes place late June to late July.
U.S. Embassy Cyprus Summer Institute
Pending funding availability, the U.S. Embassy will also offer a fully funded program modeled after BFTF for approximately fourteen (14) Cypriot students who will travel to the United States as a group each summer for a customized program at a U.S. university. Applicants to the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows program are automatically considered for this program without the need for a separate application. Eligibility criteria and selection process apply for both programs.
Candidates for both programs must exhibit an 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. 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 demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, and civic participation. They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this nature and the personal qualities needed to be successful, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. Selected applicants 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. The institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
FUNDING / TRAVEL
The 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.
Eligibility criteria and selection process below apply for both the Benjamin Franklin and the Summer Institute programs:
- 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 Cyprus in the fall 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, indicated by academic grades, awards, and recommendations;
- demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
- have 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 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;
- be comfortable with campus life, shared accommodations, travel, and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the United States.
- be able to fly to the United States from Larnaca Airport.
- U.S. Citizens are not eligible to apply for this program.
- Applications need to be fully filled using Latin characters. Any applications submitted using Greek or Turkish characters will not be reviewed.
- 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.
INTERESTS AND PERSONAL STATEMENT
Applicants must complete all application questions including Interests and Personal Statement to be considered.
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION (OPTIONAL)
Applicants may request someone to submit a recommendation on their behalf.