2023 Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders on Economic Empowerment.

2023 Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders on Economic Empowerment

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Amman is pleased to announce the 2023 Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders on Economic Empowerment.

Deadline to apply: November 5, 2022.


The summer 2023 Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Economic Empowerment.  The five-week program will take place at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; exact dates will be communicated at the time of selection.  Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the program will pivot to a modified virtual format.

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.  Each Institute has 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 Institute 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.

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Economic Empowerment will enhance participants’ knowledge of U.S. history, government, institutions, society, and culture within the context of the theme.  Participants will receive an overview of the U.S. economic system and structures while exploring sub-themes such as economic prosperity and opportunity; building sustainable economies; inequities within economies; financial access and inclusion; entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial ecosystems; social entrepreneurship; social capital development; financial literacy; organizational development and management; and adapting to the future of work.  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.  Participants will learn about economic empowerment through foundational discussion on entrepreneurship and social capital as well as capacity building workshops.  These practical sessions will address financial literacy, business modeling, and leadership and management skills.  Meetings will be arranged with businesses, such as the nationally known Yankee Candle Company, and local entrepreneurs.  The Institute also includes a trip to Boston to visit the Federal Reserve Bank and Harvard University.  Participants will be guided through a self-designed start-up project to practically apply their new knowledge and skills throughout the program, ending with a pitch presentation.

Candidates should:

·         Be a citizen of Jordan;

·         be proficient in English;

·         be interested in the topic of Economic Empowerment;

·         be between 18 and 25 years of age;

·         have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies at the end of the program, and therefore be committed to return 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; and,

·         be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.


Program Funding: Through an award given to Meridian International Center, ECA 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.  If the program is conducted virtually, ECA will work with Meridian to provide a technology stipend to all participants.    

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive and rigorous academic Institute and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program.  Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments. Due to the intensive nature of the program, participants should not expect to fulfill professional or academic obligations, including remote work for jobs or internships, classwork, or examinations for their home university, while in the United States.  Doing so will not count as an excused absence from program activities Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.

Grounds for Program Dismissal: Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities.  Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters.  In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. 

Special Accommodations: Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible.  Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and host institution guidelines.

Health:  All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions are not covered. 

Travel Policy: Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the SUSI or remain in the United States after the end date.  Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the SUSI to visit relatives or friends while in the United States.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.  Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.     

Participants will have to travel on a J-1 visa; therefore you will be subject to the two-year home-country foreign residency requirement. You must return to your home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of your exchange visitor program.  You are not prohibited from traveling to the United States, but may not benefit from certain employment-based or family-based visas until the foreign residency requirement is satisfied.

Immediate family members of U.S. Embassy employees are ineligible for this program.

Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format.  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 locations.

Connectivity: Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection.  If a participant does not have access to these two items, Meridian will work with the participant and post to facilitate access.  Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program 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.

To apply, please fill out the application form using the following link: https://forms.gle/wfGLSPvS173vrcoo8                                             . Deadline to apply is: November 5, 2022.

For further information on the program, please do not hesitate to email us at: USAinJoExchanges@state.gov.