The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Initiative is in its eighth year. We are hosting 2017 fellows June 24-July 22. Five groups have previously visited Wake Forest Campus. In 2009 we had a reunion at the American University of Bulgaria. The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Initiative offers opportunities designed to foster relationships among youth from Europeans and American in order to advance links and awareness of shared values, encounter principles of freedom and cooperation as challenges of the global 21st Century. Inspiring the Institutes is American statesman and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, who prized religious tolerance over intolerance, social mobility over class privilege, and was a firm believer in free speech. We seek an environment that encourages individual expression, communications, and information sharing in an effort to advance positive relationships among the various ethnic, religious, and national groups.
The theme of the BFTF is Civic Engagement and Sustainability. The BFTF curriculum helps prepare you to make a difference in your home country by teaching you the entrepreneurial skills necessary for productive civic engagement. To that end, the BFTF curriculum consists of three main sections. During the first week, Fellows will participate in three classes: Citizenship & Conflict, Debate & Advocacy, and Sustainability. Together, these classes help you understand the foundations of good citizenship and introduce skills necessary to make social improvements in your community.
The second week includes travel to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. In Philadelphia, we will visit the Constitution Center, Independence Hall, and the American Philological Library to speak with an expert on Benjamin Franklin. In Washington D.C., we will stay the George Washington University’s Thurston Hall, just a couple of blocks from the White House and the National Mall. We will visit the United States Department of State, discuss civic engagement and social entrepreneurship with variety of experts, and enjoy the numerous museums and monuments in the nation’s capital.
The third and fourth weeks consist of short courses, workshops and “labs.” All Fellows will participate in a variety short courses and workshops, ranging from documentary film and media technology to grant writing to arts and civic engagement. You will each create your own social entrepreneurship project for implementation in your home country or community. We will use responses to the pre-arrival survey to determine the theme of the labs. You will work with local experts and engage in civic engagement activities specific to the theme. At the conclusion of the BFTF, you will present your proposal to the other fellows and community partners. The presentations will be live streamed so friends and family, as well as members of the US Embassies, will be able to watch your presentations.