Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars


The U.S. Department of State recently awarded the Dialogue Institute a grant to administer and host the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Scholars* on Religious Pluralism in the United States, beginning in June of 2017 and renewable through 2019.

The six-week program, sponsored by the Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is designed to introduce 18 scholars from 18 differing countries to central elements of U.S. history, society, institutions, and democracy through a focus on religious pluralism and freedom in the American context.

A five-week residential component in Philadelphia, based at Temple University, includes a rigorous academic program and regular opportunities for research, as well as various religious, historical and cultural site visits. Study tours round out the experience, with trips to Lancaster (PA), New York City, Colorado (Denver), Arizona (Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Phoenix) and Washington, D.C.

The Institute engages the following topics: religious pluralism, the relationship between religion and state, freedom of religion, separation of powers/checks and balances, one person/one vote, rule of law, volunteerism in civil society, protection of minority rights (including LGBTQ and disabilities concerns), interfaith dialogue, critical thinking, nonviolent conflict-resolution, civil rights, ethnic diversity, women’s rights, immigration and international relations.


Program Objectives

  1. Increase understanding of democratic principles and religious liberty in the U.S.
  2. Deepen comprehension of the varied landscape of U.S. religious belief and practice.
  3. Enhance appreciation for the strengths of a religiously pluralist society.
  4. Develop awareness of creative responses to the challenges of a religiously pluralist society.
  5. Teach participants the principles and practices of interreligious dialogue.
  6. Create rigorous, multi-disciplinary academic engagement that supports participants in the enhancement of their own teaching and scholarship related to the U.S. and religious studies in their regions.