SUSI

Study of the United States Institutes

Study of the United States Institutes are intensive post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty, other scholars, and secondary educators (classroom teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, ministry of educations officials, etc.)  the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American society, culture, and institutions. The ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad.

The institutes will take place at various colleges and universities throughout the United States over the course of 5-6 weeks beginning in May/June 2019. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website of Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to obtain general information about the program.

Essential Program Information

Program funding: SUSI will cover all participant costs, including: program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, housing and subsistence, mailing, and incidental allowances.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Typically, participants will have a private room with a shared bathroom during the residency portion (four weeks) of the institute, and may share a hotel room with another participant of the same gender during the study tour (up to two weeks). Housing will typically be in college or university owned housing. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. Full details will be provided once the grants have been approved.

Health Benefits:All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of up to $100,000, with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions are not covered.

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to participate fully in the program. They are expected to attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Family members and/or friends cannot accompany participants on any part of the program. Please note that teaching methodology and pedagogical methods will not be addressed formally in the institute. Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive institute and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. The institute should not be viewed as a research program.

The application deadline for Summer 2020 is January 22, 2020.

Study of the United States Institutes are intensive post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty and other scholars the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American society, culture, and institutions. The ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad.

The institutes will take place at various colleges and universities throughout the United States over the course of six weeks beginning in or after June 2020. Each institute includes a four week academic residency component and up to two weeks of an integrated study tour. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to obtain general information about the program.

The U.S. Embassy solicits candidate nominations for six Summer 2020 Study of the United States Institutes for multinational groups of university faculty and other related scholars.

A total of six institutes are offered for university-level faculty:

The Institute on American Culture and Values will promote American culture, leadership, and values by providing a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and other specialists with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, civil society institutions, democratic principles, human rights, and the rule of law. The Institute will examine the concepts of American exceptionalism and American resilience through social, economic, political, and religious contexts in which, historically, various cultures have manifested and shaped contemporary U.S. culture, values, and society. The Institute will include an integrated study tour to New Mexico and Washington D.C. Pending final ECA grant approval, the University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer this program and New York University in New York, NY will host the Institute from June 6 until July 18, 2020.

The Institute on Journalism and Media will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign journalism instructors and other related specialists with a deeper understanding of the roles that journalism and the media play in U.S. society. The Institute will examine the role of journalists in recognizing and preventing disinformation and will explore strategies for media and information literacy to counter disinformation. Additionally, the Institute will examine best practices in journalism by discussing the rights and responsibilities of the media in a democratic society, including editorial independence, journalistic ethics, legal constraints, and international journalism. In addition, the Institute will examine pedagogical strategies for teaching students of journalism the basics of the tradecraft: researching, critical thinking, reporting, interviewing, writing, and editing. The program will also highlight the impact of technology in journalism, including the influence of the Internet, globalization of the news media, and other changes that are transforming the profession. The Institute will include an integrated study tour to Alabama, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Pending final ECA grant approval, the University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer this program and Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ will host the Institute from June 7 until July 19, 2020.

The Institute on Religious Freedom and Pluralism will provide a multinational group of up to 18 experienced foreign university faculty, scholars, researchers and religious leaders with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present, through an examination of religious freedom as a foundational American value. The program will include a survey of the religious landscape of the United States, including major and minor religious groups; historic religious traditions and contemporary American religious groups will also be included. The Institute will explore both the historical and contemporary relationship between church and state in the United States; examine interfaith understanding and dialogue, religious pluralism, freedom of religion as a fundamental unalienable human right and source of stability; and discuss ways in which religious freedom is protected. In addition, the Institute will examine the intersections of religion and politics in the United States, especially in U.S. foreign policy. Participants will have opportunities to meet with U.S. community leaders of different faiths who advocate for collaboration and tolerance among religious groups. Pending ECA’s grant competition, the program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2020; the recipient and implementing institution will be known in April 2020.

The Institute on U.S. Economics and Business will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty, researchers, experts and policymakers with a deeper understanding of key components and structures of the U.S. economy as the world’s largest economy. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the program will explore 1) how financial institutions, investors, and businesses interact to support growth and employment and 2) the institutional backdrop that is required to sustain a competitive and strong private sector, including but not limited to corporate governance structures, monetary policy, and the legal and regulatory framework of the business sector. The program will also discuss how the United States, as the leading nation for global trade, influences industries, free markets and financial sectors around the world and advances trade, investment, and capital flows. Participants should have a firsthand look at key institutions and stakeholders in U.S. economy and the opportunity to meet with business and corporate leaders, Wall Street executives and board members, and small business owners, among others. Pending ECA’s grant competition, the program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2020; the recipient and implementing institution will be known in April 2020.

The Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of new approaches to U.S. foreign policy and how U.S. foreign policy is formulated and implemented. The Institute will include a historical review of significant events, individuals, and philosophies that have shaped U.S. foreign policy. The Institute will explain the role of key players in U.S. foreign policy including the executive and legislative branches of government, the media, the U.S. public, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral institutions. The program will also examine the current U.S. foreign policymaking and the new trends that are shaping policy. Topics such as the concept of American sovereignty, shifting attitudes towards globalism, U.S. foreign aid, the monitoring of foreign investment in the United States, the efforts to combat terrorism and radicalization, new trade policies and agreements, immigration and border safety, and cybersecurity will be included. The program will also discuss the reorganization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the new U.S. approaches to international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Institute will include an integrated study tour to New York City, Philadelphia, Texas and Washington, D.C. Pending final ECA grant approval, the University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer this program and the University of Delaware in Newark, DE will host the Institute from June 11 until July 24, 2020.

The Institute on Youth, Workforce Development, and Closing the Skills Gap will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of how new socioeconomic trends have changed the concept of work, workforce development, and career paths in the United States. The academic program will include a thorough discussion of the role of U.S. educational institutions, particularly community colleges, in preparing Americans with the skills needed to succeed in multiple industries including business, technology, science, the creative arts, and other emerging fields. Topics such as economic development and advances in technology such as automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence will also be included. The Institute will offer opportunities for participants to research new ideas, in conjunction with American peers, to better understand the evolution of work, the changing demand for skills, and the advancements in workforce development through retraining, reskilling, and closing the skills gap. The Institute will include an integrated study tour to Georgia, Oklahoma and Washington D.C. Pending final ECA grant approval, University of Montana in Missoula, MT will administer, oversee and host this Institute from July 6 until August 17, 2020.

The application deadline for Summer 2020 is January 22, 2020.

The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators will provide three multinational groups of 20 experienced secondary school educators (including teachers, administrators, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, ministry of education officials, and others) with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, education, and culture – past and present.  The Institutes will be on providing content and materials for participants to develop high school level curricula about the United States. Two of the Institutes are tailored for secondary school teachers; please note that the Institutes for Teachers focus on content and materials about the United States rather than teaching methods and pedagogy.  The third Institute is tailored for experienced administrators including teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, ministry of education officials, and others.

Through a combination of traditional, multi-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary approaches, program content will examine the history and evolution of U.S. institutions and values, broadly defined.  The programs will also serve to illuminate contemporary political, social, and economic debates in American society.  The four-week academic residencies will take place at U.S. universities and colleges campuses and will consist of a balanced series of lectures, panels, seminar discussions, readings, workshops, site visits, meetings with practitioners in the field, and cultural activities.  One-week study tours to a different region of the United States will complement the academic residencies.  One goal of the study tours is to showcase the cultural, geographic, and ethnic diversity of the United States.  The program features curriculum based on the study of how America’s foundations and historical development have shaped and continue to inform U.S. politics, economics, and society.  A key cultural component of the program involves community service activities, which will provide participants with a first-hand experience of how volunteerism plays a vital role in U.S. civil society.

The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will host one Institute for Teachers from approximately May 31 to July 5, 2020.    The Institute will explore American studies through the lens of democracy and citizenship.

The Institute for Training and Development in Amherst, Massachusetts will host the second Institute for Teachers from June 6 to July 11, 2020.  The Institute will explore the ways in which individual rights and social obligations have evolved through American history.

California State University at Chico will host the Institute for Administrators from June 3 to July 9, 2020.  Within the overarching shared theme, the Institute will focus on access and equity in U.S. education and society.

All three Institutes will conclude with one-week study tours that end in Washington, D.C.

The application deadline for 2020 is January 15, 2020.

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for European Student Leaders are intensive short term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. SUSI programs are five-week Institutes that consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community. Each Institute will have up to 20 participants and will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a domestic study tour of approximately one week. During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom. The program will take place during the June to August time frame in 2020, pending availability of funds and ECA award approval.

The U.S. Embassy solicits candidate nominations for two summer 2020 Study of the United States Institutes for students interested in the topics of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, and Civic Engagement; Education and the Future of Work.

INSTITUTE DESCRIPTIONS:

The Study of the U.S. Institute for European Student Leaders on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, hosted by the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga will provide participants with an overview of entrepreneurial approaches by reviewing the development, history, challenges, and successes of U.S. entrepreneurial enterprises, including social enterprises, business leadership and women’s economic empowerment, in the United States and globally.  Topics will include, but are not limited to, business development in a global setting, diversity in the workforce, management strategies and techniques, and the relationship among businesses, governments and NGOs.  Academic activities will be supplemented by opportunities to engage with the local community, including meeting with local entrepreneurs, and a study tour to Atlanta, Georgia.  The Institute will end in Washington, D.C. where participants from all Institutes will come together for a closing forum.  During the closing forum, participants will have opportunities to network, discuss their action plans, and engage in conversations on relevant topics with local subject matter experts.

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Education and the Future of Work, hosted by the University of Massachusetts-Boston, will explore how technology, the job economy, and skill-based education are interconnected in the United States. The Institute will expose participants to global issues in the context of the future of work by examining educational, social, and economic trends. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the academic program will examine the role of U.S. educational institutions, particularly community colleges, in preparing Americans with the skills needed to succeed in multiple industries and sectors including business, technology, science, higher education, the creative arts, and other fields. Topics will include, but are not limited to, communication, entrepreneurship, globalization and urbanization, innovation and technology, organizational development and management, skills development, and reskilling and retraining. The program will also provide opportunities for participants to engage with educational and industry leaders through site visits around the greater Boston metropolitan area. A study tour to a different region in the United States will explore the theme from a different perspective. The Institute will end in Washington, D.C. where participants from all Institutes will come together for a closing forum. During the closing forum, participants will have opportunities to network, discuss their action plans, and engage in conversations on relevant topics with local subject matter experts.

CANDIDATE DESCRIPTION AND QUALIFICATIONS:

The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. The fields of study may vary, and include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields. Preference will be given to candidates with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside Latvia.

Candidates nominated for this program will:

  • be proficient in English;
  • be interested in the Institute topic;
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities following completion of the program;
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of Latvia;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel; and,
  • be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.

OTHER FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION:

The selection of candidates is on a competitive basis and participation is not guaranteed. The Study of the U.S. Branch will make the final selections.

Applicants will be notified regarding selection or non-selection of candidates by late Spring 2020 by the U.S. Embassy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  • What degree of English proficiency should a participant have? All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
  • Can a participant who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes? No. S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
  • How much free time will a participant have during the program? There will be some free time during the program.  However, nominees MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.
  • If a participant has relatives in the U.S., would he/she have time to see them? Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends.  Occasionally it is possible for a relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution if the schedule permits.  These situations will be addressed on a case by case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.
  • Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the Institute? No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Study of the U.S. Institute are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program.  These terms state clearly that student leaders may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the institute. Participants must also return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.
  • Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Studies of the U.S. Institutes are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.
  • Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute?   All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.
  • How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The Study of the U.S. Institutes cover all basic costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals.  Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan, a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants, and/or a cash allowance to permit participants to purchase food for cooking.  Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution six weeks prior to the start of the Institute.  Other than the meal stipend mentioned above, participants should not expect to receive any spending money from the Institute.  Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly-motivated and experienced professionals from institutions of higher education. While the educational level of participants will likely vary, most should have graduate degrees and have substantial knowledge of the thematic area of the Institute.

The ideal candidate will also be an experienced professional with little or no prior experience in the United States, whose home institution is seeking to introduce aspects of U.S. studies into its curricula, to develop new courses in the subject of the institute, to enhance and update existing courses on the United States, or to offer specialized seminars/workshops for professionals in U.S. studies areas related to the program theme. In this respect, while the nominee’s scholarly and professional credentials are an important consideration, an equally important factor is how participation in the institute will enhance course offerings in U.S. studies at the nominee’s home institution.

Candidates should be willing and able to fully take part in an intensive post-graduate level academic program and study tour, and to be comfortable with campus life and an active program schedule.

Other Factors for Consideration

Institutional Justification: The justification statement is a critical portion of the nomination, as it offers the opportunity to provide specific reasons why the participation of a nominee is particularly desirable in terms of enhancing the study of the United States at the home institution, or more broadly, in the home country. For example, would the nomination serve to strengthen an already established faculty, or is it intended to give a boost to a fledgling program? Is the nominee a leader within his or her field who is in a unique position to have a significant and immediate impact on curricular development?

Institutions are strongly encouraged to describe the role that the nominee’s home institution plays. Why, in short, does the nomination matter? The justification statement need not be especially lengthy, but it should address these and other relevant issues noted in application form paragraph S.

Candidate Statement: In order to get a better sense of potential participants’ motivations and goals, each candidate must provide a short personal statement (one page) indicating why he or she is interested in participating in the program and what he or she expects to get out of the experience.

English Language Ability: It is imperative that all candidates demonstrate English language fluency. Institutes are rigorous and demanding programs; participants will be expected to handle substantial reading assignments in English and to be full and active participants in all seminar and panel discussions. English fluency is vital to a successful experience in the Institute, both for your participant and participants from other countries.

Priority Consideration: Priority will be given to candidates who have firm plans to enhance, update or develop courses and/or educational materials with a U.S. studies focus or component, who have limited experience in the United States, and who have special interest in the program subject areas as demonstrated through past scholarship, accomplishments, and professional duties.

Interview: The U.S. Embassy will hold interviews for candidates who are finalists. Please note that ECA will make the final selections of candidates and that this program is highly competitive. Candidates compete not only against others in Latvia but those from other countries, as well.

Please note that the hard-copy applications will not be accepted. All nominations must follow the format which is given (order, size, font, etc.). It is essential that all items are completely accurate.

For further information regarding this program, please contact Ingrīda Bodniece at the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section at +371 6710 7209 or e-mail to: bodniecei@state.gov