Benjamin Franklin Program

Benjamin Franklin Fellowship ad

Video contest 2020 application deadline: February 9, 2020.

The U.S. Embassy Riga is pleased to invite 16 to 18-year-old candidates to apply for the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute. The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive four-week exchange program, created to build strong ties and promote shared values among young Europeans and Americans. The program will enable teenagers to explore U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity. This year the Institute will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in June and July of 2020; exact dates will be communicated at a later time.

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 participants will also take part in community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families to deepen their experience of U.S. society during the exchange.
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, 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.

Application
  1. Prospective participants are invited to make a 1 to 3-minute video in English on one of the topics: “Stop School Bullying” or “Zero Waste.” The video should feature the author.
  2. The video should be uploaded to the web, and the link sent to AlumniLatvia@state.gov. The e-mail should include the participant’s CV and full contact information.
  3. The deadline for the video submission is Feb 9, 2020.
  4. The U. S. Embassy judging committee will select ten finalists, who will be invited to Riga for an interview. The winner of the contest will take part in the four-week program in June and July of 2020.
Candidate Qualifications
  • be born between June 22, 2002, and June 22, 2004 (i.e., be 16 – 18 years of age at the time of the program start);
  • be highly proficient in English.
  • be committed to enrolling in high school or university in Latvia in fall 2020, following completion of the institute;
  • demonstrate strong leadership potential;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States, transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • 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 country.