About the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

The Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute is an intensive, four-week exchange program held in each summer in the United States. Focusing on the global issues faced by European and American youth on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the institute activities include discussions of common interest topics, leadership and media training, collaborative project development, community service, educational travel, and plans for follow-on projects. The program will also provide participants with a new perspective on mass media, and explore how they learn about each other and about communities in which they live. Teenagers who are 16-18 years old from various countries of Europe and from the U.S. will participate in training sessions, workshops, community-based programs, study tours, and cultural events. Participants will work together to prepare a joint project that promotes the goals of the Institute.

The initiative is named after the legendary American statesman and diplomat Benjamin Franklin. His interests, studies and life took him back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, bringing Americans and Europeans closer in understanding. Even 300 years after his birth, Franklin’s life offers inspiration to young citizens of today in the effort to bridge the Atlantic. As a diplomat and a printer, he leveraged the powers of diplomacy and of the media to explore how Americans and Europeans see each other and the world.

The Institute  is hosted by Wake Forest University (WFU) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a private, coeducational university founded in 1834. The University consists of the Undergraduate College, Graduate School, Schools of Business, Divinity, Law and Medicine. WFU puts education of students first and recognizes that it must be built on a firm foundation of outstanding academic achievements and state-of-the-art research. Personal interaction and intellectual exchange between students and faculty, makes Wake Forest a place where exceptional teaching, fundamental research and discovery, and the engagement of faculty and students in and outside the classroom and the laboratory are paramount. Wake Forest University has hosted Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute since its inception in 2006.

Eligibility Requirements

The contest is open to all citizens of the Russian Federation:

  • between 16 and 18 years of age at the time of the Institute
  •  enrolled in a secondary school;
  • with demonstrated proficiency in English;
  • committed to continuing their education in the Russian Federation in the fall following  completion of the Institute;
  • with demonstrated leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • who show a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • with a record of sustained high academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • with demonstrated commitment to community service and extracurricular activities;
  • with little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States;
  • with no previous participation in U.S.-government funded exchange programs;
  • who are willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
  • who are comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, coed group of participants from across Europe and the United States, and comfortable with engaging various Americans in the broader community; and
  • who show potential to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of the Russian Federation.