Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership Program 2020 – CLOSED

The Embassy of the United States of America is proud to announce the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership Program, 2020


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 five-week 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.  Each Institute will have 20 female participants and will include a four week academic residency component and a one week integrated study tour.  During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.

The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership will examine the history and participation of women in public life in the United States.  The Institute will focus on two major areas: developing participants’ leadership skills in areas such as critical thinking, communication, decision-making, and managerial abilities; and, placing these abilities in the context of the history and participation of women in U.S. politics, economics, culture, and society.  The program will also examine the historical domestic progress towards women’s equality in the United States, the current domestic successes and challenges to women in a variety of fields, and current challenges in global women’s issues.

The SUSIs on Women’s Leadership will begin with an opening conference in Washington, D.C., tentatively scheduled for late June in 2020.  The one-day event will bring together 80 SUSI student leaders and approximately 10 U.S. student ambassadors from the four Institutes.  The women will have opportunities to network with one another and meet with inspiring U.S. women leaders.


  • Program Funding: All participant costs, including program administration, international and domestic travel and ground transportation, books, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances, along with housing and meals will be covered by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in university dorms or a full service hotel.  Participants may be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender.  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 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
  • Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to fully participate in the academic program.  They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings.  Candidates should be made aware that the Institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.

Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the Institute or remain 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 addressed 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.

English Language Ability: All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.


Candidates nominated for this program will:

  • Be Afghan citizen residing in Afghanistan
  • Be female
  • Be proficient in English
  • Be interested in the topic of Women’s Leadership
  • Be between 18 and 25 years of age
  • Have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies upon participating in 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
  • Be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive
  • Have little or no prior study or travel experiences in the United State or elsewhere outside of Afghanistan
  • Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel
  • 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.


The complete application should include the following components:

  • Completed in Microsoft Word  (doc 78 KB)
  • Completed application packet in one PDF document (not to exceed 5MB file size)
  • Copy of recommendation letter preferably from the Rector/Dean/Head of Department of the university
  • Updated CV

Please submit your application to

Application Deadline: Sunday, December 14, 2019 – 11:59 PM Kabul time.

The subject line on your application email must include your University name- Nominees Name, and program name


  1. What degree of English proficiency should a nominee have? All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute, they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
  2. Can a nominee who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes?  U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
  3. Can family members of U.S. Embassy employees apply for the program?

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

  1. How much free time/time for independent research will a participant have during the program? There will be some free time during the program as well as some time designated for independent research.  However, nominees MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to participate in all lectures, activities, and scheduled events.  Participants in Scholar Institutes may, at their own expense, opt to extend their stay in the United States after the close of their program to the extent allowed by visa regulations.
  2. I am not a college professor; can I be considered for the program? ECA will consider nominees from a variety of professional backgrounds who are professors at all stages of their careers, practitioners in a designated field, college and university administrators, and community leaders, among others.
  3. If a nominee has relatives in the United States, would he/she have time to see them?  Because of the intensive nature of the Institutes, participants will NOT be able to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends.  Participants in Scholar Institutes may, at their own expense, opt to extend their stay in the United States after the close of their program to the extent allowed by visa regulations.
  4. Can a relative travel and stay with the participant during the Institute? Relatives are NOT permitted to travel or stay with a participant during the program.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Participants in Scholar Institutes may, at their own expense, opt to extend their stay in the United States after the close of their program to the extent allowed by visa regulations.
  5. Can a participant arrive early/late for the Institute? Occasionally flight schedules necessitate that a participant to arrive a day early.  These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  Participants will have an opportunity to review their flight itinerary before it is booked.  Once the tickets are booked, the participant is responsible for making and paying for any itinerary changes, the participant choose to change their plans.
  6. Can a participant stay after the end of the Institute?  Under the terms of their J-1 visas, participants have up to 30 days after the end of the program to depart from the United States.  However, the participant must be aware that s/he is responsible for all expenses after the end of the Institute and will no longer have ECA-sponsored health benefits.
  7. 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.
  8. How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The Study of the U.S. Institutes cover all 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 and cash allowance to permit participants to cook or eat at local restaurants.  Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution approximately six weeks prior to the start of 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.  All participating scholars will receive a stipend to purchase books and research materials while in the United States.
  9. Will applicants with disabilities be considered?  Yes, the Study of the U.S. Branch welcomes nominations for individuals with disabilities.  We are committed to working with our Institute hosts to arrange reasonable accommodations for all participants.  While notification of a disability will not negatively impact selection, we ask that you identify disabilities during the nomination process so that we can begin working with our Institute hosts to ensure appropriate accommodations.