The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is an intensive short term exchange program created in 2006 by the U.S. Department of State to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin. The initiative was named after this great American statesman and diplomat, to honor the inspiration his life and career provided to those who work to strengthen transatlantic cooperation. Benjamin Franklin spent part of his life making efforts to bring Americans and Europeans closer in understanding. Even 300 years after his birth, his life offers inspiration to today’s young citizens to bridge the Atlantic. His diplomatic actions had great influence on how Americans and Europeans see each other and the world. Thus, the purpose of this program is to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an awareness of shared values. During the four week program teenagers, ages 16-18, explore U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity. The coursework and classroom activities at Wake Forest University in North Carolina are 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.
The Embassy has participated in this exchange program since its creation in 2006. David Agüero, a young and brilliant student from Seville, is Spain’s participant in the 2018 Summer Seminar, the 11th year of the program. To date, 18 students from Spain and Andorra have enjoyed the program. As a closing activity near the of his stay at Wake Forest University, David is presenting the project Life after Death which he plans to pursue at his return in Spain.