The U.S Embassy in Tbilisi is pleased to announce the 2023 Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement. The five-week program will take place at the University of Washington in Seattle in June and July 2023.
Application submission deadline: December 23, 2022
Please send the following documents by email to TbilisiExchanges@state.gov with a subject line “2023 SUSI for Students”:
Program Description: Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for 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. Each Institute hosts 20 participants. The Institutes consist of a four-week academic residency with a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations and lectures. Site visits, leadership development, cultural activities, and community service complement the coursework and academic sessions. If conditions allow, the Institutes will include a one-week integrated study tour in the United States. Note that if the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries.
The SUSI on Civic Engagement will enhance participants’ knowledge of U.S. history, government, institutions, society, and culture within the context of the theme. Participants may also explore the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy; civil rights movements; social justice; gender equity; community-building; grassroots and youth activism; strengthening democracy while defending against authoritarianism; addressing and fighting corruption; promoting respect for human rights; media literacy and countering disinformation; and the role of volunteerism in society. The Institute will incorporate a focus on U.S. historical events as well as contemporary American life, including current political, social, and economic debates in a pluralistic society. Specific program elements will include an overview of student movements on the University of Washington’s campus; meetings and service learning with nonprofits addressing the issues of poverty and homelessness, such food banks and housing assistance organizations; engagement with community leaders, elected officials, and the public sector in Seattle and Roslyn, Washington; and a visit to Bainbridge Island, Washington to learn about Japanese-American exclusion during WWII and reflect on the themes of inclusion and justice. Project planning sessions will guide participants in developing a community action project to be implemented after the Institute. Participants will learn skills such as community asset mapping, budgeting, fundraising, goal setting, and volunteer management, in addition to learning from a dedicated leadership development curriculum designed for aspiring civic leaders.
Program Funding: All participant costs will be covered, including program administration, international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel, and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.
Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments. Due to the intensive nature of the program, participants should not expect to fulfill professional or academic obligations, including remote work for jobs or internships, classwork, or examinations for their home university, while in the United States. Doing so will count as an unexcused absence from program activities. Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.
English Language Ability: English Language proficiency is required to participate in this program. All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Therefore, candidate interviews must be conducted in English. Host institutions will consider the varying levels of participants’ comprehension and speaking ability and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.
Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.
Special Accommodations: Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and host institution guidelines.
Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides 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 may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations. ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States. COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.
Travel Policy: Participants are not allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the SUSI or remain in the United States after the end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the SUSI to visit relatives or friends while in the United States. If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered on a case- by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution. Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.
Grounds for Program Dismissal: Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions pose significant challenges to the program, the SUSIs will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program will consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming and will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants will be required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.
Connectivity: Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection.
Candidates nominated for this program should:
Frequently Asked Questions: