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What’s Ahead For 2021: TFAS Finds New Opportunities to Teach Liberty + Leadership to Students Amid Covid Challenges

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While 2020 certainly brought more than its fair share of challenges, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) welcomed our new reality with open arms and an open mind. After spending the first half of the year reimagining our programs to give young leaders across the globe an exceptional virtual experience equal to what they would have had in person, we developed new and innovative ways to teach the ideals of liberty, limited government and free markets.

When the status of our 2020 D.C. Internships and TFAS International programs became uncertain, TFAS staff brainstormed new ways to create both virtual and hybrid programs to promote our mission of teaching and building up the world’s future leaders. Keep reading to discover how our programs adapted to changing circumstances and learn more about what you can do to give extraordinary young individuals the opportunity of a lifetime.

Washington, D.C. Programs

D.C. Summer Programs

In the summer of 2020, nearly 200 students took interactive and engaging online classes taught by highly-rated and dynamic TFAS professors. They also participated in various virtual internships, gaining valuable professional experience while learning to navigate remote work. After receiving extensive feedback from summer 2020 program participants, TFAS feels ready to tackle the upcoming year and provide even more students the opportunity to engage safely with our programs in whichever format they feel most comfortable. Despite these challenges, TFAS remains committed to providing opportunities that support both the academic and professional growth of undergraduate students by offering multiple experiential program formats in 2021.

Summer 2020 students connected through a virtual hang-out session over Zoom.

There will be two options for students participating in TFAS Summer 2021 D.C. Programs: virtual and hybrid. Students participating in the hybrid model will have classes both in-person and online and will be able to participate in both virtual and in-person networking, site briefings, and special events at key Washington institutions. Students who choose the virtual model will have access to all program content online through platforms such as Zoom and Canvas. Their internships, classes, lectures, site briefings, and other special events will be held virtually so they can partake in all program components from their homes, just as all students did in summer 2020. There will be some overlap between the virtual and hybrid students, allowing the two groups to build connections and expand their networks. TFAS staff will also create spaces for all students to interact virtually in an informal setting using “Peer Groups,” where groups of students will meet weekly via Zoom.

Despite the moderate changes, all students will still be able to participate in any of the five core summer programs: International Affairs, Journalism + Communications, Public Policy + Economics, Business + Government Relations, and Leadership + the American Presidency. All students will be able to work at their various internships either in-person or virtually at the discretion of the student and internship site.

Deadlines are fast approaching for our Summer 2021 programs. Check out important dates and deadlines below.

2021 D.C. Summer Programs Important Dates:

  • Early Application Deadline: Dec. 8
  • International Student Deadline: Jan. 25
  • Priority Admission Deadline: Feb. 9
  • Final Application Deadline: March 17
  • Program Dates: June 5-July 30

Capital Semester

Fall 2020 Capital Semester students were able to take an in-person tour of the White House in October.

The D.C. Programs team adapted to changing circumstances and created a hybrid Fall Capital Semester program, which we plan to replicate for the Spring semester. The ten fall semester students stayed in apartment housing on Capitol Hill and were required to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in D.C. In addition to participating in virtual classes and hybrid internships, the students also attended both virtual and in-person tours of landmarks throughout the nation’s capital, including the White House and the Woodrow Wilson House.

Four of the ten students held in-person internships this semester. TFAS provided the six students with virtual internships memberships to the National Press Club to complete their internship work in a more traditional environment.

Though we offered participants as many in-person opportunities as possible, the safety of our staff and students remained our highest priority. TFAS encouraged social distancing and mask usage in accordance with up-to-date information from the CDC and adapted to the continually evolving pandemic. These safety measures will be enacted during the Spring semester as well.

The Spring Capital Semester Program, focused on Leadership and the American Presidency, will take place from Jan. 25 to April 30. Students will partake in a 12-week internship, which can be completed virtually or in-person at the internship site’s discretion, courses in international economics and government, guest lectures featuring prominent policy and economics experts, networking nights, and experiential learning opportunities throughout D.C.

The final application deadline for the Spring Capital Semester program was Nov. 16. The U.S. Programs staff is currently reviewing applications from outstanding young leaders and is looking forward to welcoming a new cohort of young leaders to the nation’s capital in January.


TFAS INTERNATIONAL

July will be a busy month for TFAS International programs, which have faced a different set of challenges due to international travel restrictions. All international programs–TFAS Santiago, TFAS Prague, TFAS Asia, and the European Journalism Institute–will take place in July 2021.

TFAS Santiago 2020 students on a guided tour of the city on their second day in Chile.

TFAS Santiago, originally scheduled for January 2021, has been postponed until July in order to have a better chance of hosting the program in person. Students who were already accepted will still be able to participate in the program, hosted at Universidad de los Andes, and the application portal will  reopen with a new deadline of Feb. 15 to allow more students the opportunity to apply for what will be an incredible opportunity in Chile.

TFAS Asia and TFAS Prague are currently accepting applications with a deadline of March 1. TFAS Asia students will study political economy and political philosophy with a particular emphasis on the American Founding and how political and economic freedom are intertwined. The program has historically taken place in Hong Kong, but will be relocated to the National University of Singapore this coming summer. TFAS staff worked diligently to make this change, and their efforts have yielded an incredible opportunity for students wishing to study in Asia. They will be able to explore the thriving global financial hub and its modern shopping centers, lush green surroundings, and world-renowned cuisine.

Students take a tour of the city during TFAS Prague 2019.

TFAS’s first international program, TFAS Prague, provides students from across the globe the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary academic course that explores the political and economic foundations of a free society. With academic credit offered through TFAS’s longtime academic partner, Charles University, the challenging coursework includes readings from economists and liberty-minded thinkers including Bastiat, de Tocqueville, Mises, Hayek, and Adam Smith. Students will still be able to participate in site visits and excursions, keeping in mind health and safety practices.

The European Journalism Institute (EJI), is a weeklong training program held annually in Prague on religion reporting and other topics for those who care about quality, independent journalism as a bedrock of liberty and free societies. Co-hosted with The Media Project (TMP) and accredited through Anglo-American University, the institute brings together approximately 25 early- to mid-career journalists and upper level journalism students from around the world to expand understanding of religion in public life, explore fundamental issues related to journalism ethics, and boost reporting skills.

TFAS International Important Dates:

TFAS Santiago:

  • Final Application Deadline: Feb. 15
  • Program Dates: July 1-15

TFAS Asia:

  • Final Application Deadline: March 1
  • Program Dates: July 2-24

TFAS Prague:

  • Final Application Deadline: March 1
  • Program Dates: July 17-Aug. 7

European Journalism Institute:

  • Application Opens: Jan. 5
  • Final Application Deadline: March 15
  • Program Dates: July 11-17

No matter what 2021 brings, The Fund for American Studies will be ready to adapt to and overcome any challenges that arise, just as we did in 2020. As the upcoming year unfolds, TFAS remains committed to bringing the very best of its economic education and leadership programming to outstanding young leaders around the globe and fulfilling the vital mission of teaching the ideals of liberty, limited government and free markets.

In addition to our undergraduate programs in D.C. and abroad, TFAS has also adapted its Foundation for Teaching Economics programs for high school students and teachers to offer both in person and virtual programming. To learn more about these opportunities, please visit FTE.org.

If you would like to help give young leaders around the world the opportunity to grow both academically and professionally, please consider nominating someone you know for one of our programs using the links above. As we remain devoted to our mission of educating the next generation of responsible leaders, we welcome the continued support of our alumni and friends.

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