The Study of United States Institute on the Environment (SUSI)

The Study of United States Institute on the Environment (SUSI)
10 May-21 June 2009

Introduction of the programme

The Study of United States Institute on the Environment (SUSI) was a six weeks environmental leadership programme organised by East West Center. University of Hawaii Environmental Center, Stanford University, and the Nature Conservancy are the co-partners of this programme. This programme was funded by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The first four weeks of the Institute are conducted on the islands of Oahu and Maui in the state of Hawaii.  The fifth week was conducted in San Francisco and the Monterey Bay Area. The final week took place in Washington D.C. 20 Participants were competitively selected by U.S. Embassies in Fiji, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore.  

Mission of SUSI

Educate and empower the next generation of environmental leaders in the Asia Pacific region through:

  • Transformative learning that exposes participants to a broad spectrum of people and organizations in the United States
  • Network building with U.S. environmental actors and each participants 
  • Transferring lessons from the U.S. environmental movement to participants’ own communities
  • Developing collaborative projects among participants themselves and with U.S. organizations 

Activities & Lesson learned 

Classroom activities

Lectures given by scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGO) leaders, business owners, government agency directors, Hawai‘i State Senators, and community activists gave us a big picture of current status of the environment from the U.S.  Besides, participants’ presentation on a key environmental challenge in their community and/or area of research interest exposed us to a different point of view from each other and understanding the environmental movement from different countries.  

Field studies

We were provided with a lot of hands-on experiences including learning about restoration ecology with the Director of the Lyon Arboretum, touring a U.S. Coast Guard ship with a Commanding Officer and visiting the marine protected area, Hanauma Bay, with the Education Director. Moreover, we were given the opportunity to communicate with native communities about historical and modern relationships with their surroundings. We were also visited with faculty and students at Maui Community College and the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui. At San Francisco and Monterey Bay, California, we were exposed to the environmental research at Stanford University, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and an investment company–‘Cleantech’. During the stays in Washington D.C., we met with the U.S. Senators leading environmental committees that create policies, those that enforce the policies at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and those that defend or challenge policies at the Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council and experts who inform policy development at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program and those at Greenpeace that fight for the environment their own way, regardless of policies.  


Last but not least, I would like to convey my appreciation to president of Water Watch Penang, Prof. Dr. Chan Ngai Weng, who helped and recommended me for this programme. Moreover, I would like to thank to the organisers – East West Center as well as the funder, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of this program. They were given us a great opportunity and did a great job in organising such a great programme. 

For detail information please read at here.

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