After a two-year hiatus, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is thrilled to return to the Czech Republic with two programs this July: TFAS Prague and the European Journalism Institute (EJI). Prague is the location of TFAS’s flagship international program, the first of which occurred nearly 30 years ago in 1993.
The TFAS International team is working hard to ensure safe and engaging experiences for the participants. By participating in a TFAS International program, students gain an expanded network of global contacts; an understanding of the ideas most conducive to individual freedom, human achievement and personal responsibility; and an international experience to advance their educational and professional development.
TFAS Prague is scheduled to take place July 9 to July 30, giving students three weeks to deepen their understanding of political philosophy, political economy and conflict management. The program challenges participants to examine the foundations of a free society and engage in dialogue with a diverse group of peers, faculty and guest lecturers.
I have heard too many times the term ‘life-changing experience,’ but only after TFAS Prague was it clear for me. The program was extremely enriching in all regards…” – Giorgi Eliozashvili ’19
Professors Ibrahim Al-Marashi ’01, Adam Martin and Joshua Mitchell will return to teach the interdisciplinary course at Charles University, a historic touchstone of European academic culture. Their interactive teaching methods enhance students’ learning of course material and facilitate meaningful conversations that extend beyond the classroom.
In 2019, for example, students participated in a conflict management simulation at the Czech Parliament. Giorgi Eliozashvili ’19, a native of Tbilisi, Georgia, was one of the students in attendance. He remembers clearly what one of the senators leading the simulation said before it began.
‘“Yesterday this hall was full of senators, today it is full of future senators,’” Eliozashvili recalled. “This was an incredibly huge inspiration for me and will follow me for my entire life.”
In addition to academics, students will explore the city and get to know one another better through other program activities. They’ll see historic sites such as the grounds of Prague Castle, the narrow streets of Staré Město (Old Town), the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on the Charles Bridge and the world-famous Prague Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square.
A highlight of the program, which brings together students from around the world, is the cultural presentation event. Students from the same countries or regions prepare a creative presentation to share their culture with their fellow classmates. Participants often demonstrate traditional dances, prepare festive food and model fashion from their countries.
Eliozashvili thoroughly enjoyed his experience at TFAS Prague. He said the program was well-rounded and connected him with people he knows will make a difference through positive change in the future.
“I have heard too many times the term ‘life-changing experience,’ but only after TFAS Prague was it clear for me,” he said. “The program was extremely enriching in all regards – academically, culturally, socially – and the opportunity to meet distinguished students from different countries was one of the best outcomes of the program. The people I met are all great leaders and real changemakers.”
TFAS hopes to facilitate a gathering of local alumni with the students during the program. This reception will be a great time to reconnect with the TFAS Alumni Network, which is comprised of more than 46,000 leaders spanning the globe.
European Journalism Institute
TFAS will cohost the European Journalism Institute (EJI) from July 10-16 with The Media Project, a nonprofit that empowers journalists to thoroughly and honestly report on the role of religion in public life. Participants earn academic credit through Anglo-American University.
EJI is a week-long journalism training that brings together approximately 25 early- to mid-career journalists and upper-level journalism students from around the world. It challenges participants to consider the importance of independent, fact-based journalism as a foundation of liberty and free societies. By engaging with industry professionals, they will expand their understanding of religion in public life, explore fundamental issues related to journalism ethics, and refine their reporting skills through lectures and workshops.
EJI gave me a glimpse into how people in different parts of the world think about journalism, but also into really big, meaningful topics like faith and human identity.”– Anna Johansen Brown ’19
Top-notch faculty members guide students in thought-provoking classes and discussions throughout the week. They come from various journalistic backgrounds and so are able to provide a breadth of knowledge. Faculty members include Ibrahim Al-Marashi ’01, a professor of Middle East history at California State University San Marcos; Paul Glader ’99, ’00, executive director of The Media Project and associate professor at The King’s College in New York City; Sean Gallup, news photographer in Germany at Getty Images; and David Rocks, senior editor of Bloomberg News.
The program contains four core academic components: conflict and religion reporting, journalism ethics, creating effective leads and photojournalism. By delving into the life experiences and expertise of faculty and guest lecturers, participants will survey best practices in the industry and how to navigate the social, economic and political complexities of an ever-evolving media landscape.
Anna Johansen Brown ’19 participated in EJI the last time it was hosted in person. She said she gained great insight into the world of religion reporting, and thus would recommend the program to other aspiring journalists.
“I would encourage anyone who’s looking for some fresh perspective, for vibrant international experience, and for conversations with interesting people from all over the world to apply,” she said. “EJI gave me a glimpse into how people in different parts of the world think about journalism, but also into really big, meaningful topics like faith and human identity.”
Summer 2022 Programs
July 9 – July 30
European Journalism Institute (EJI)
July 10 – 16
Visit @TFASorg on social media for up-to-the-moment #TFAS news and information.