Study of the United States Institute for Scholars

Deadline for application: December 20, 2019

The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria is now accepting applications for six Study of the U.S. Institutes for multinational groups of experienced university faculty, scholars, and other professionals. The program will take place at various colleges, universities, and institutions throughout the United States over the course of six weeks beginning in June 2020 or later.  Each Institute includes a four week academic residency component and up to two weeks of an integrated study tour. Information about last year’s Institutes can be found here: http://exchanges.state.gov/susi.

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars 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 U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions.  The ultimate goal of these Institutes is to strengthen curricula and to enhance the quality of teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad.

This year institute themes are:

  • American Culture and Values

The Institute 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.

  • Journalism and Media

The Institute 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.

  • Religious Freedom and Pluralism

The Institute 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.  The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2020.  This Institute along with one other SUSI for scholars are currently being openly competed under one award; the recipient and implementing institutions will be known in April 2020.

  • U.S. Economics and Business

The institute 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.  The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2020.  This Institute along with one other SUSI for scholars are currently being openly competed under one award; the recipient and implementing institutions will be known in April 2020.

  • U.S. Foreign Policy

The Institute 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.

  • Youth, Workforce Development, and Closing the Skills Gap

The Institute 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.

COSTS AND OTHER ESSENTIAL INFORMATION:

All participant costs will be covered. When possible, each participant will have a private room with a shared bathroom during the residency portion (four weeks) of the Institute.  However, private room accommodations cannot be guaranteed during the residency portion of the program.  During the study tour (up to two weeks), participants will likely share a hotel room with another participant of the same gender.  During the residency, 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.

Applicants will be 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. Applicants should be aware that they are applying for an intensive institute and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. The institute is not as a research program.

APPLICANT DESCRIPTION AND QUALIFICATIONS:

Study of the U.S. Institutes are highly competitive. 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 no prior or 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.  English Language fluency is required.

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly-motivated and experienced scholars and professionals (Bulgarian nationals) generally from institutions of higher education or research focused organizations (not-for-profits, think tanks, etc.). 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 or a related field.

Ideal candidates are individuals 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. While the nominee’s scholarly and professional credentials are an important consideration, the potential impact and multiplier effect of the Institute is equally important.

Applicant Statement: In order to get a better sense of potential participants’ motivations and goals, the US Embassy requests that each applicant provide a strong candidate statement that should convey why the participant is interested in participating in the particular Institute, what s/he expects to gain from the experience, and what s/he will bring to the program. Most importantly candidate statements should describe the candidate’s capacity and plans to keep the impact of the Institute beyond their own knowledge and research. Please observe the limit of 250 words.

In order to apply, please submit the completed Application Form and the Essay by December 20, 2019 via e-mail to: SofiaEducationPrograms@state.gov

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