Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) 2015

2014 SUSI group
Summer 2014 SUSI Group. (Photo courtesy of Hadil Al Senwi)

In summer 2015, UConn will welcome 40 student leaders from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa to work on social entrepreneurship!

Two Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Social Entrepreneurship will be hosted by the University of Connecticut (UConn) this summer from July 4 – August 7 (four weeks on campus, one week study tour). These institutes will comprise 20 college student leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa and 20 college student leaders from North Africa. The educational and cultural exchange program will be developed and delivered by the University’s Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI). Numerous faculty members from throughout our institution will be participating in this five week program, along with subject matter experts from institutions of higher education across New England. The GTDI is partnering with Ashoka on this program. Ashoka’s work in advancing social entrepreneurship is well known and highly regarded across the globe. This Institute is sponsored by the Study of the U.S. Branch in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Student Leader Institutes promote a better understanding of the U.S. abroad and help to develop future world leaders. These Institutes explore the principles of democracy and fundamental American values such as individual rights, freedom of expression, pluralism and tolerance, and volunteerism. Participants have the opportunity to meet their American peers, engage in local community and service activities, and learn about the United States. The specific program objectives of this institute are to: 1) deepen participant understanding of the U.S.; 2) provide participants with an overview of how to use business techniques and entrepreneurial skills to address social issues; and 3) develop participants’ leadership and collective problem-solving skills, and inspire them to apply these skills.

The curriculum will cover several fields of study including: Political Science, American Studies, History, Business, Leadership Development, International Studies, Environmental Studies, Women’s Studies, Global Citizenship, and Civil and Human Rights. Through a creative mix of workshops, group exercises, site visits, home-stays, and cultural activities, participants will explore the defining events, time periods, and leaders in American history who addressed social issues and shaped the evolution of the U.S. Participants will develop a social entrepreneurship project idea and business plan during the program. The UConn based portion of the program will conclude with each participant presenting their business plan to their fellow participants. The program will include project start-up funds (to be awarded on a competitive basis) and follow-up support for participants when they return home and launch their social entrepreneurship ventures.

The four week intensive residential program at UConn’s main campus in Storrs, CT, will be followed by a week-long trip to cultural sites of significance in New City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. The short-term anticipated result of the program is that participants will gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. and social entrepreneurship. In the long-term, we hope that they will stay in touch with new American friends and use these new relationships to build stronger international ties. In addition, we hope that participants will use new knowledge and skills to address social issues and transfer lessons learned to their home community.

For more information, contact: Global Training and Development Institute at 860-486-0235


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