2020 International Writing Program for Lebanese Students

Organized by the University of Iowa

U.S. Embassy Beirut is pleased to announce the 2020 “Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience” International Writing Program (BTL) for students.  This fellowship offers talented teen writers the opportunity to participate in a two-week creative writing workshop at the University of Iowa from July 11- 25, 2020.  

The selected participants will be immersed in this premier American creative writing laboratory as part of an exchange that will broaden and sharpen their writing skills, deepen their understanding of American society, and build bridges with young American writers. 

Program activities will be conducted in English and will include writing workshops, group and individual writing assessments, world literature seminars, cultural visits, and other local events.  At the program’s culmination, the students’ writings will be collected into a printed booklet to be used for educational purposes. 

The fellowship covers roundtrip airfare, tuition, health insurance, room and board, and a stipend to cover incidental expenses.  All student applicants must be between 15 and 18 years old as of July 11, 2020. Students should have the ability to read, write, and converse in English; demonstrate a commitment to use the skills gained in the United States upon returning to Lebanon; and should have minimal previous exposure to the United States.

More program information is available on the Between the Lines program page.

Requirements for Students:  The program is designed for talented young writers who show promise to become future literary figures in their respective countries.  Students must be between the ages of 15-18 as of July 11, 2020, proficient in English (reading, writing, and speaking), and able to participate effectively in intercultural exchange.  Preference will be given to candidates with limited or no travel to the United States. In order to ensure full consideration of your application, applicants must supply the following:


Part I:

The following formatting standards are required for all submitted documents. If not followed, applications may not be considered.

Format: Typed (Microsoft Word document preferred but not required)
Font type: Times New Roman
Font size: 12 point
Spacing: Double
Margins: 1 inch on all sides
Header: Include your name, name of piece (Creative Work, Prompt #1, Prompt #2, Statement of Purpose)
Footer: Include page numbers
Citations: If using other people’s words/content, always give them credit!

  1. A brief response (no longer than 300 words) to the following:
    “An essential component of Between the Lines is encouraging participants to explore the unfamiliar and unknown in a safe and supportive setting.  Please describe a time in your past when you had to engage with a new situation, person, or idea that initially felt uncomfortable or strange.  How did you proceed?  If you had the chance, what would you do the same and what would you do differently?”
  2. An essay (in English, no more than 3 pages) in response to the following prompt:
    “In our daily lives, we navigate many different roles—student, sibling, daughter, son, peer.  We negotiate family, friends, religious groups, as well as class, gender, race, country, and so many other groups, adjusting the way we speak or behave to fit the demands of each encounter.  As we move through the day, we work through how and why we occupy each particular role.  What do you consider to be the strongest, most central aspects of your identity?  What does it mean to you to be a member of (or seen as a member of) a particular group?  In what way does your identity influence you as a creative writer and reader?”
  3. A brief statement of purpose (in English, no more than 250 words) describing why writing is important to the applicant’s life, and what he/she hopes to learn at BTL.
  4. A writing sample of 6-8 pages of prose (creative nonfiction) and/or poetry in English.  Critical essays (book reports, academic reports, and so forth) will not be accepted.

All writing samples must be submitted via a Word document formatted in 12-point Times New Roman font and have one -inch margins all around.  Any evidence of plagiarism, handwritten application or incomplete submissions will not be considered.


Part II:

  1. Please complete participant information and include it in the email:
    • Full name (as it appears on your passport)
    • City and country of birth (as it appears on your passport)
    • Gender
    • City of residency
    • Country of residency
    • Country of citizenship
    • Date of birth
    • Email address


To Apply: Click here to access the application, and e-mail Part I and Part II to BeirutPD@state.gov with the subject line “Student 2020 International Writing Program Application – [Your Last Name].”  Answers for Part II may be submitted in the body of the email sent to the Embassy.


 Please include all materials in one email.

All submissions are due on February 28, 2020