Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars and Professionals

Application Period for the Summer 2019 Programs Has Ended!

Purpose of the grant program

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

Participants spend approximately four weeks at host universities where they take part in a series of lectures, seminar discussions and site visits related to each Institute’s theme. Each Institute also includes an integrated study tour of up to two weeks, which complements the academic program. The study tour aims to showcase the rich cultural, geographic, and ethnic diversity of the United States and includes visits to sites of interest in another geographic region of the country.

2019 Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars on National Security Policy Making Participants at U.S. Army War College

 

Eligibility

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly-motivated, experienced scholars and professionals 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 substantial knowledge of the thematic area of the Institute.

Ideal candidates are scholars or professionals 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.

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.

Essential Information about the SUSI Programs

Program Funding: The program will cover participant costs, including: program administration, international travel, domestic travel and ground transportation in the U.S., book allowance, some cultural activities, mailing and incidental allowances, housing, and subsistence.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: When possible, participants 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 usually 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.

Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State's supplemental health benefit with a coverage of $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. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at usdos.sevencorners.com. Participants are responsible for their own health and travel insurance for the duration of the program.

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 may not accompany participants on any part of the program. Please note that teaching methodology and pedagogical methods will not be addressed formally in the Institute. The Institute should not be viewed as a research program.

How to Apply?

The application form, CV, and one letter of recommendation from an individual who knows you in a professional capacity should be submitted no later than Sunday, December 16, 2018. to the office of the Fulbright Finland Foundation, e-mail: office(at)fulbright.fi.

Application: Application Form for Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars will be posted during the launch of the application period.

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 little or no prior experience in the United States, and who have special interest in the program subject areas as demonstrated through past accomplishments and professional duties.

Applicants must be citizens of Finland. Please note that U.S. citizens are not eligible for the program.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit The Branch of the Study of the United States website to obtain general information about the Institutes.

Interviews

Applicants that pass an initial screening will be invited for a personal interview. The interviews are compulsory and will take place at the office of Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki on January 17th and/or 18th. Candidates invited to the interviews will be notified via email by January 9, 2019. A copy of a passport will be requested prior to the interviews.

Fulbright Finland Foundation does not cover expenses resulting from the interview. Fulbright Finland Foundation Board of Directors will select applications to be forwarded to the U.S. for consideration. Instructions on how to prepare for the interview can be found from here.

Final review of the international candidates and selection of the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars nominees from the multinational candidate pool will be conducted by the Study of the U.S. Branch of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright Finland Foundation organizes a full day pre-departure orientation for all Finnish Fulbright grantees on May 14, 2019. All grantees are expected to attend.

 

Descriptions of the 2019 Study of the U.S. Institutes and Host Institutions

A. 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 program will draw from a diverse disciplinary base and should itself provide a model of how a foreign university might approach the study of U.S. culture and values. The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019. The host institution will be confirmed in spring 2019.

B. American Politics and Political Thought

The Institute will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty and practitioners insight into how intellectual and political movements have influenced modern American political institutions, and a deeper understanding of major currents in U.S. political thought from the colonial period to the present. Drawing upon the American Political Development approach, the Institute will provide a full and diverse understanding of U.S. political thought and its connection to U.S. politics, public policy, and institutions by linking contemporary issues with historical and social debates. The Institute will explore particular themes including self-rule and limited government, liberty and freedom, individualism and identity, equality and inequality, and the American Dream. The Institute will conclude with an integrated two-week study tour to New York City; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. Pending grant approval by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Institute will be hosted by the University of Massachusetts, Donahue Institute in Amherst, MA. The host institution will be confirmed in spring 2019.

C. Contemporary American Literature

The Institute will provide a multinational group of up to 18 foreign university faculty and scholars with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present, through an examination of contemporary American (U.S.) literature. Its purpose is twofold: to explore contemporary American writers and writing in a variety of genres; and to suggest how the themes explored in those works reflect larger currents within contemporary U.S. society and culture. The program will explore the diversity of the American literary landscape, examining how major contemporary writers, schools, and movements reflect the traditions of the U.S. literary canon.  At the same time, the program will expose participants to writers who represent a departure from that tradition, and who are establishing new directions for American literature. Pending grant approval by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Institute will be hosted by Seattle University in Washington. The host institution will be confirmed in spring 2019.

D. 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. Also, 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 program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019. This Institute along with three other SUSIs for scholars are currently being openly competed under one award; the recipient and implementing institutions will be published in spring 2019.

E. Religious Freedom and Pluralism

The Institute will provide a multinational group of up to 18 foreign university faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present, through an examination of religious pluralism in the United States and its intersection with American democracy. Employing a multi-disciplinary approach and drawing on fields such as history, political science, anthropology and sociology, law, and others, the program will explore both the historical and contemporary relationship between religion and state in the United States. Participants will examine the ways in which religious thought and practice have influenced, and been influenced by the development of American-style democracy. Study will also include a survey of the diversity of contemporary religious beliefs in relation to the first amendment to the U.S. constitution, elections, public policy, and the demography of the United States. Interfaith dialogue in the American context will be practiced in the context of the group itself as well as site visits to a diversity of religious communities. Pending grant approval by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Dialogue Institute at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. The host institution will be confirmed in spring 2019.

F. 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 program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019. The host institution will be confirmed in spring 2019.

G. 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, creative arts, and other emerging fields. Topics such as urbanization, globalization, 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 program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019. The host institution will be confirmed in spring 2019.

Timeline

Application period starts October-November
Application period ends December-January (determined in the fall)
Interview invitations will be sent out to selected candidates December-January (one week before the interviews)
Orientation for all Finnish Fulbright Finland grantees May
Program starts June-July

 

Alumni experiences

I had the pleasure and honor to participate in the SUSI Scholar program, US Politics and Political Thought. The course was organized by the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in Amherst.

I didn’t quite know what to expect. And yet, this experience exceeded all possible expectations. The quality of the lectures, the atmosphere, the general organization was breathtaking.

One can also thank the timing. I doubt that there will ever be a moment in US politics which would provide as much material for both academic and general human considerations as the summer of 2017. It is not only about the president who has, admittedly, an unusual background for his position as the leader of the United States. It is also about the general political atmosphere, the crisis of the US congress in decision making, the extraordinary tensions in world politics.

The specific strength of the SUSI program is the idea of gathering people from all over the world for US studies. Our group consisted of 18 participants from 18 different countries and 4 different continents. The broad knowledge base, experience of scientific thinking and wide experience of national as well as global politics of the group ensured academically ambitious, entertaining and inspirational discussions. A highly inspirational learning experience!

The structure of the program led us all the way from the life of the first colonies to the creation of the constitution and to the history of the US political system. This gave us a firm basis to understand the present politics and the framework of political decision making.

For myself as a researcher of legislative studies the architecture of the program provided excellent basis for further studies of the US politics and US legislative system. The most impressive feature of the US politics and political history is the strong position of the Constitution. The influence of the Constitution stretches from American everyday coffee table discussions to the highest level of decision making in the Congress. During summer 2017 constitutional considerations - especially the question of separation of power and the roles of the legislature, the executive and the court - was a regular topic in practically every morning TV show.

A central common interest of the researchers in our group was to better understand the electoral system of the US. This was clearly an interesting topic when taking into account also the results of the most recent presidential elections. The feeling of unfairness of a candidate winning the Electoral College, yet losing the popular vote is, of course, understandable. However, the Electoral College has provided similar surprises many times during US history. And this specific electoral system is also keenly anchored to the US Constitution.

The US Constitution is not easy to amend. To renew trust in the political system and in democracy might be easier tasks. Not effortless, though.

Harriet Lonka, SUSI Scholar 2017, US Politics and Political Thought

 

Questions?

Mirka McIntre
Phone: 044 553 5269
[email protected]