Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders

FY-2015 STUDY OF THE U.S. INSTITUTE FOR STUDENT LEADERS ON:

1. LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL PUBLIC POLICYMAKING
2. RELIGIOUS PLURALISM IN THE UNITED STATES
3. GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

PROPOSED DATES: JUNE AND JULY 2015

The deadline for receipt of applications is Wednesday, December 31, 2014.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

SUMMARY:

The Study of the U.S. Branch Office of the Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S. Mission to Turkey is pleased to invite nominations for the FY-2014 Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders. This year students will have the opportunity to participate in an institute related to one of the following three topics:

1. Local, State, and Federal Public Policymaking

2. Religious Pluralism in the United States; and

3. Global Environmental Issues

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE INSTITUES:

The institutes will take place between June and July 2015. Exact dates and host institutions will be announced at a later time. The deadline for submitting applications is close of business on Wednesday, December 31, 2014. Each applicant can only apply for only one of these institutes. S/he is also expected to clearly state which institute s/he intends to apply. Those applicants who fail to complete their applications completely and follow the instruction will automatically be disqualified!!!

Below is a brief description of each institute:

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Local, State, and Federal Public Policymaking will be hosted at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, pending availability of funds. The program will provide participants with an overview of the U.S. Federalist system of government as well as the role of non-governmental institutions such as civic organizations, the media, and the private sector in the creation of U.S. public policy. Discussions will explore the responsibilities of local and state government, as well as the three branches of the U.S. government, the system of checks and balances, and the role of local and state governments in leading and innovating in various policy areas. The Institute will also examine how organizations, the media, and the private sector influence government policy. Within the broader frame of the public policy process, students will be exposed to specific public policy questions on topics such as public finance, rule of law, education, public health, environment, and foreign policy. The Institute will then conclude with two to four days in Washington, D.C.

Participants will be drawn from the following regions and countries: from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey – June and July, 2015

The Institute on Religious Pluralism in the United States will be hosted by the Dialogue Institute at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pending availability of funds. The four week academic residency will focus on U.S. history, society, and institutions within the context of religious pluralism and interfaith dialogue. Participants will discuss topics such as early religious traditions in the U.S.; the separation of church and state; immigration and the introduction of new religions in the U.S.; protection and representation of minority groups and religions; and interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Participants will meet with community leaders of different faiths that advocate for collaboration and tolerance among religious groups. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local leaders of different faiths, leaders of nonprofit organizations, and visit important religious sites. The Institute will then conclude with a 3 day program in Washington, D.C.

Participants will be drawn from the following countries: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey – June and August 2015.

The Institute on Global Environmental Issues will be hosted by the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, pending availability of funds. The four week academic residency will explore the role that environmental policy has played in the economic and political development of the United States. The Institute will use experiential learning techniques to expose participants to current themes in the field, including natural resource management, sustainable development / sustainable agricultural practices, food security, ecotourism, energy generation (new and traditional forms), and water management and treatment. The issues will be explored from numerous angles: local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, market-oriented approaches, and federal government policies and regulation. Finally, the Institute will explore environmental issues in the context of a globalized society, and draw comparisons between the United States and the participants’ home countries. Students will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations working in the field. The Institute will then conclude with a 3 day program in Washington, D.C.

Participants will be drawn from the following regions and countries: Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, and Turkey – July and August 2015.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders are intensive 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. The five-week Institutes will 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. The Institutes 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.

PROGRAM FUNDING:

Through the award given to the selected recipient institution, ECA will cover all participant costs, including: program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence. ECA will provide posts with fiscal data to pay for participants’ international travel costs and travel allowances within set limits.

HOUSING AND MEAL ARRANGEMENTS:

Housing will be in university dorms, a full service hotel, or with local host families. Participants will be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. It is important that nominees are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.

Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. Please note that part of this Institute may take place during Ramadan. While the host institution will make every effort to accommodate participants who are fasting, participants should be made aware of the rigorous nature of the Institute and the expectation that the success of the Institute depends on their full participation. It should also be noted that the hours of daylight in parts of the United States may be significantly longer than what participants are accustomed to. Daylight may be as long or longer than 15 hours per day.

HEALTH BENEFITS:

All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $15 co-pay for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at usdos.sevencorners.com.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS:

Participants are expected to fully participate in the academic program. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Candidates should be made aware that the Institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.

Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S. If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis, in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.

Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ABILITY:

All candidates should be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of students may vary, 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.

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. Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields. Emphasis should be made on recruiting participants from non-elite backgrounds, from both rural and urban areas, and with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside their home country. In addition, recruitment of participants should include historically underserved, indigenous groups, disabled and disadvantaged groups, and ethnic minority communities.

Candidates nominated for this program will:

-be proficient in English;

-be interested in the topic of Public Policymaking;

-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 their home country;

-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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

This FAQ section addresses some commonly asked questions by posts. If you cannot find an answer to your question please contact the program officer for this Institute. Contact information of the program officer can be found in paragraph 7.

a. What degree of English proficiency should a nominee 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.

b. Can a nominee who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes? No. U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.

c. Can we nominate an individual who is not a citizen of the nominating post country? Yes. However, Study of the U.S. Institutes are programs designed to further mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries. If you wish to nominate someone who is not a citizen of the nominating country, please explain clearly on the application the reasons for the nomination.

d. My nominee has been to the U.S. before; would he/she be disqualified? No. Nominees with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program. However, priority will be given to nominees with no previous experience in the United States. If you find it necessary to nominate a candidate with previous U.S. experience, please be sure to clearly indicate the purpose of the nominee’s visit to the U.S., the year, and the length of his/her stay as requested on the nomination form.

e. My nominee will be fasting during Ramadan. How will this impact his/her participation in the program? Participants who will be fasting during Ramadan are still expected to fully participate in the program. Participants must be aware of the rigorous nature of the program and the expectation of full participation in planned activities. Some activities such as community service and site visits may take place outdoors in high temperatures and humidity. Participants should be aware of the challenging nature of the program, especially on long travel days during the educational study tour and in locations that experience long hours of sunlight. For example, in the northern United States, the sun rises around 5:30 am and sets around 9:30 pm.

f. What accommodations will host institutions make for participants who are observing Ramadan? Host institutions will make every effort to accommodate fasting participants. For example, host institutions should provide access to kitchens and refrigerators so participants can prepare and store food. Participants should be aware that Halal food may not be readily available in some parts of the United States. Host institutions will also accommodate participants who may wish to attend Friday prayers at the local mosque.

g. 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.

h. If a nominee 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.

i. How important it is to nominate a gender balanced group? Very important! We strive to have the best possible diversity and gender balance in the Institutes (except for Women’s Leadership institutes).

j. 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.

k. Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Study of the U.S. Institutes is designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.

l. Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute? No. All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.

m. How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The Study of the U.S. Institutes covers 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.

n. My nominee participated in the English Access Microscholarship Program; can he/she participate in this Institute? Yes.

o. One of our SUSI alumni has a sibling who would like to apply for the SUSI program. Can (S)he apply? Priority will be given to nominees who are unrelated to past SUSI participants. Posts should make every effort to recruit and nominate candidates from diverse backgrounds, areas, and universities.

p. Are participants permitted to smoke during the Institute? Yes. However, participants should be aware that many places in the United States now prohibit smoking. Smoking in such places could be considered a violation of the law. Some places that may prohibit smoking are university housing, classrooms, office buildings, restaurants, public parks, and other locations. Smoking laws will vary from location to location so participants who smoke should look for designated smoking areas.