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Pakistani college students study public policy and experience the U.S.

A group of 30 Pakistani college students lived on and studied at the UMass Amherst campus for the past several weeks before recently embarking on an east coast study tour. The program focused on comparative publicly policymaking at the local, state and federal levels. The Study of the US Institute for Pakistani Student Leaders (SUSI), is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the UMass Civic Initiative, a group of the UMass Donahue Institute. This the 10th year this SUSI program has been held at UMass.

The 30-member group from across Pakistan was fully involved with a wide variety of on-campus academic sessions and off-campus cultural activities. These activities coupled with lectures on policymaking at the federal, state, and local levels of government, the role of the private sector in policymaking, and various other policy topics, weaved together a strong understanding of American institutions, and how they function in practicality on a day-to-day basis.

SUSI participants attend classes and activities with half dozen U.S. students to address issues of public policy and democracy in the United States and comparing U.S. policy with that of Pakistan. Entitled Getting Things Done: The Context of Public Policy, the Institute examines questions such as: How do problems get on the public agenda? Who has the power to define a problem and how? Where do policy options come from? How are forces mobilized for and against this or that solution? How are responses actually formulated, implemented, and evaluated? Participants explored the institute theme through hands-on activities including case studies, simulations, presentations, leadership activities, community service, visits with elected officials, and discussions with the local community.

“The classes in general were pretty informative and interesting,” said Abrar, 22, from Bahrain, Pakistnan. “But, what surprised me was the comparative education policy of both the countries: the similarities and differences. The classes were very interactive because of which I got to know about a variety of point of views on the same topic.”

The participants are currently traveling to New York City, Boston, Charlottesville, VA and Washington, D.C. during a two-week study tour component

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