College Hosts Its Second U.S. State Department International Women’s Institute

Gwen O’Brien 
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 284-4579

June 26, 2013 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College is proud to announce it is hosting its second Global Women Leaders Institute, a U.S. Department of State Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI). This year’s SUSI includes 19 undergraduate women from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Iraq, and Jordan. The women arrived on campus on June 22 and are in the U.S. through July 26. This four-week academic residency program at the College, followed by a week of educational travel, is part of a broader State Department initiative to promote a better understanding of the U.S. abroad and help develop future world leaders.

Kathleen Sabol '08, a teaching assistant with the SUSI, leads a session called "Understanding Cultural Identity."
Kathleen Sabol '08, a teaching assistant with the SUSI,
a discussion in a session called "Understanding Cultural
Identity." Sabol just completed a master's degree in gender
and women studies with a concentration in international
development at George Washington University. She came back
to Saint Mary's to help with the SUSI.
“Saint Mary’s College is honored to conduct the institute once again. As a women’s college where intercultural leadership is valued and fostered, we feel this is an ideal environment for these international women to learn about the U.S.,” said Elaine Meyer-Lee, director of the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) at Saint Mary’s College. “CWIL and the broader College have a long-standing record of work in women’s leadership and intercultural education, national contacts in these fields, and growing connections in the countries this institute is serving.”

The Saint Mary’s institute, organized and facilitated by CWIL, includes intensive academic study of U.S. history, government, and society with a particular focus on U.S. women’s history, global women’s movements, leadership, and intercultural skills. The international students will experience South Bend hospitality as well as service and recreational opportunities in the area. As part of the institute, participants will also travel to:

  • Michiana, including two weekends spent with local host families and visits to Amish and Native American communities;
  • Chicago, where they will attend sessions at the University of Chicago and tour the Jane Adams Hull House Museum;
  • Seneca Falls, N.Y., to visit the Women’s Rights National Historic Park;
  • Cambridge, Mass., to attend meetings at the Harvard School of Public Health;
  • Washington, D.C., where they will attend a U.S. Department of State conference.

Six Saint Mary’s College students are participating in the SUSI for six hours of college credit and five Saint Mary’s students are serving as student coordinators for the institute.

The SUSI program is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs under the Fulbright-Hays Act with the purpose “to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”

Some highlights of the College’s program will include sessions by Saint Mary’s and guest faculty on topics that include cultural identity, intercultural skills, gender and culture, women and peace movements, U.S. women’s history, women and political representation in the U.S. and globally, and women’s economic empowerment.

There will also be service opportunities for the participants at one of eight local agencies partnering with Saint Mary’s (St. Margaret’s House, the YWCA, Center for the Homeless, El Campito, Hope Ministries, Sister Maura Brannick Health Center, Hannah’s House, and Chiara House).

Media interested in covering SUSI events or seeking interviews for a story should contact Gwen O’Brien, director of media relations at

About the Study of the U.S. Institutes: The Study of the U.S. Institutes are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  Study of the U.S. Institute participants are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year.  For more than 60 years, ECA has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.   For more information about ECA programs, visit  

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. The College’s single-gender environment has been proven, in study after study, to foster confidence, ethical leadership, and strong academic success. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2013 published by U.S. News. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College’s mission is to educate women and prepare them for postgraduate success whether it’s a first job, graduate school, or postgraduate service.