The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

You could study abroad in London through this UNC nonprofit

(From left to right) Allie Dailey, Becca Broughton, Edward Yanez, and Dr. Sue Brunning handle Anglo-Saxon artifacts dating earlier than 1066 British Museum in London led by Brunning, the curator for the Early European Medieval Collections at the British Museum. Photo courtesy of Trum deVries.

The UNC nonprofit Transatlantic Forum for Education and Diplomacy (TFED) is working to bring international diplomacy to students.

The organization was founded by Ted Leinbaugh, TFED president and professor of English and comparative literature, in 2016. UNC senior John Daniel Bratcher, a written content manager at TFED, said Leinbaugh modeled the organization after the Marshall Scholarship. 

The Marshall Scholarship was created by the United Kingdom in the 1950s to bring U.S. students to the U.K. to foster transatlantic relations among both countries as well as a deeper understanding of diplomacy. Leinbaugh understood the importance of studying in the United Kingdom over trying to attain that knowledge in the classroom, Bratcher said. 

To highlight that importance, TFED works with UNC's study abroad program and King’s College London to host the six-week summer program “Literature and Diplomacy at King's College London" for 30 students. The program launched last summer and was the most popular study abroad program offered by UNC, according to Myles Lukert, chief operating officer at TFED. 

During the first three weeks of the program, students take a course called “Epic, Empire, and Diplomacy,” taught by Leinbaugh and guest instructor Sir Christopher Meyer. Meyer is the former British Ambassador to Germany and the United States. 

Students attend class daily and meet at a variety of locations around London, including the British Museum, the House of Lords and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and hear from speakers in politics, business or academia. 

“TFED is trying to bring students to these people they would otherwise never have gotten a chance to meet, unless they were already highly networked. Dr. Ted says that is the whole thing­­ — not every student gets the opportunity to meet these people, network with these institutions and higher individuals and learn one-on-one with them," Bratcher said. 

During the second half of the program, students choose from courses offered by King’s College which are focused on a variety of topics including espionage, international business, literary arts, classics and more. 

“For me, it was very significant because it presented me with an alternative way of looking things that was more aligned with what I was passionate about. In the study of international relations, quantitative methods like statistical analysis are pretty predominant, and that is something I experienced through PWAD, but I was more inclined toward the liberal arts, history, literature and understanding the world through those mediums," Lukert said. 

Students from all majors and backgrounds are eligible to apply for the summer 2019 program. It is also open to students from other universities. 

“We are hoping to get a much larger number of non-UNC students. That’s not to say we don’t want UNC students, but we do want it to be a very good mix of students as far as who’s involved and what unique perspectives can be given,” said Bratcher. 

Lukert said TFED and its study abroad program is unique in that it offers travel scholarships to some of its students. 

TFED continues to work toward improving students’ understanding of transatlantic diplomacy stateside. Several members of the TFED team are UNC students or recent graduates who have the opportunity for professional development while interning for the nonprofit organization. 

“Last Friday, we had a couple of students attend, on invitation, the celebration of the (Raleigh U.K. government office) and there were diplomatic officials from the U.K. including England, Wales and Scotland, as well as North Carolina government officials. It is an opportunity to take one step closer to the real operating of politics, government and policy and look at how your studies are actualized,” Lukert said. 

Last semester, TFED hosted three talks to promote the conversation of international diplomacy showcasing a local, international and U.S.-U.K. centered perspective of transatlantic relations, according to Lukert. The organization hopes to continue the speaker series throughout the spring and upcoming fall semesters. 

“What TFED does is something unique in that it specifically brings the world of diplomacy to university students in a way that we wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. That is why it matters so much because everyone that I talked to who did the program said the same cliché thing – it was life changing," said senior Victoria Friedlander, a philosophy and peace, war and defense double major.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.