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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.

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.

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.

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.


Who can apply?

Candidates eligible for this program will:

  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • demonstrate English language proficiency (speaking, reading, writing, listening);
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and be committed to returning to their home universities following completion of the program;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country;
  • demonstrate an interest in the topic of Civic Engagement;
  • 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 service and extracurricular university activities;
  • 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 adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.


Application Deadline:

All candidates must submit electronic applications by
November 19, 2023


Application Link:



For additional information, please, email to Bakueducation@state.gov.