SUSI Student Leaders – Comparative Public Policymaking Program 2023

Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders

(Comparative Public Policymaking 2023 Program Pakistan)

Important Note: The 2023 summer program is expected to run in-person at the host institution, the University of Massachusetts, in the United States; however, if COVID-19 related issues persist, it may run as a virtual program with all lectures and activities designed for online synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Information for Applicants

Undergraduate students from Pakistan interested in the topic of Comparative Public Policymaking are invited to apply for participation in the Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders. If conducted in-person, the Institute will take place at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst from late June to early August 2023. Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the program will pivot to a modified virtual format. The program will be intensive, academic, and highly interactive. The program sponsors seek energetic applicants who are ready to develop their skills in order to be effective leaders in their schools and communities.

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. The 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 and, if the program is conducted in-person, an integrated study tour. If it is possible to conduct the Institute remotely, participants will engage in similar activities, but in a truncated virtual format from Pakistan. During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom (in-person or virtual).

The academic residency 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 and supporting effective democracies.  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. Topics such as public finance, rule of law and democratic governance, education, public health, citizen security, and foreign policy will be included. If conducted in-person, the academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the United States. Throughout the Institute, participants will meet with local, state, private, and not-for-profit organizations working in the field.

Other Essential Program Information:

Program Funding: U.S. Government will cover all participant costs, including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel, and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence as well as arrange and pay for participants’ international and visa travel costs and travel allowances within set limits, if the program is conducted in-person.

If the Institute is conducted as a traditional in-person program:

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in shared university dorms on campus with common bathrooms.  Male participants will be housed on one floor and female participants on a separate floor.  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 participants 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.

Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and $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.  COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) policy.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at

Program Requirements and Restrictions:

Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the United States after its end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the United States. If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute(s).

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 participants are aware of these requirements and restrictions in advance.

If the Institute is conducted as a virtual program, pending the host institution’s technical resources and participants’ online access:

The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming would include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants will be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.

Participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection. If a participant does not have access to these two items, the host institute will work with the participant to facilitate access on an as-needed basis, if possible.

Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program’s activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution and post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.

English Language Ability: All candidates must 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.

Candidates applying for this program are required to:

  • 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 be committed to returning 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

If the program is conducted in-person, the students should 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. Alternatively, if the program is conducted virtually, the students will be required to have reliable internet facility to attend all the lectures.

How do I apply?

Complete an application form and submit it to latest by 05:00 pm on Friday, October 28, 2022.  Any application received after this time due to any reason will automatically be disqualified.  Only emailed applications will be considered for review.  Take special care in answering the essay questions. While saving the file and e-mailing the application, kindly use the following format for the subject line:

Province Name, City Name, Name of Institution, Applicant Name

For example:

Sindh, Sukkur, IBA, Your Name


Federal, Islamabad, NUML, Your Name


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malakand, University of Malakand, Your Name

(This is important, please do not ignore this as we reserve the right to disqualify any application received without this format.)

While answering questions, please be mindful of the word limits.

The Public Diplomacy Section will contact applicants selected for interviews based on the criteria above, as demonstrated in the application.  Interviews will take place either in person or virtually by around late December 2022.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for the interviews.

The list of finalists and alternates will be announced by late April/early-May 2023.

Selected participants will need to obtain passports and apply for U.S. visas with the assistance of the Public Diplomacy Section of the U.S. Embassy.

Students will receive orientation materials in the weeks prior to the start of the program to help prepare them for the program and their trip to the United States, if an in-person program is conducted.  Participants may have an opportunity to speak with the Public Diplomacy Section about the program.

Subject to travel restrictions due to COVID and visa approvals, participants will travel to the United States for the Institute in the summer of 2022.

Thank you for your interest in the program and good luck with your applications!

Frequently Asked Questions

a. Are the shortlisted candidates required to be interviewed?

Yes. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Pakistan will interview shortlisted candidates for Study of the U.S. Institutes program for Student Leaders. The interviews will be conducted in English. Interviews may take place in person or via video conference.

b. What degree of English proficiency should a candidate have?

All shortlisted candidates must be fully proficient in English. If selected, they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.

c. Can someone 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.  It may also include individuals with any other nationality other than just a Pakistani nationality.

d. Can someone who is not a citizen of Pakistan apply for this program?

Yes. Study of the U.S. Institutes are multi-country group programs designed to further mutual understanding between U.S. citizens and people of other countries. If you are a permanent resident but not a citizen of Pakistan, please explain clearly on the application the reasons why you have applied. Temporary or transient residents of the nominating country would normally not be considered.

e. Can someone who has been to the United States before; would he/she be disqualified?

No. Individuals with minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program.  However, priority will be given to those with no previous experience in the United States.

f. During the in-person portion of the program, how much free time will a participant have?

There will be some free time during the program. However, participants 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.

g. If the participant has relatives in the United States, would he/she/they have time to see them, during the in-person portion of the program?

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 U.S. host institution if the schedule permits. These situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

h. During the in-person portion of the program, 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.

i. Can a graduate student participate in the SUSI for Student Leaders Institute?

No. Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.

j. Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute?

All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.

k. If a candidate is chosen as an alternate, what are the chances that he/she/they will participate in the program? If a selected candidate is not able to participate, an alternate may be given an opportunity to choose a candidate from the alternate list, if a primary candidate is dropped out, and if time allows.

l. How much money will participants need to bring for the in-person portion of the program?

The Study of the U.S. Institutes cover 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.  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.

m. I participated in the English Access Microscholarship Program; can I participate in this Institute? 


n. My sibling participated in SUSI in previous years. Am I eligible to apply? Priority will be given to participants who are unrelated to past SUSI participants.

o. Will applicants with disabilities be considered? Yes, the Study of the U.S. Branch welcomes applications for individuals with disabilities.