Type of Funding

Fully funded




The Asia Foundation is inviting emerging young Asian leaders to apply for the 2020 Asian Development Fellows Program, which is a multifaceted learning program designed to enhance leadership skills, Asian development knowledge, professional networks, and international exposure. Twelve fellows will be chosen. Fellows will be able to remain in their current occupations during the Fellowship year. The 2020 Program has 3 components:

  • Leadership Dialogue and Exchange, Part 1, in Laos, from 21 March to 2 April 2020: includes leadership training modules involving intensive coursework in a retreat setting to facilitate deep learning. There will also be an Asian Development study tour program involving leading development practitioners and thinkers, recognized policy leaders, and local innovators who will help Fellows explore approaches that deliver positive impact and advance development knowledge.
  • Forum on Leadership for Asia’s Future: At the Frontlines of Change Development: a biennial Fellows Alumni Gathering that will be held in Singapore from 3 to 5 April 2020. The alumni of the current and former cohorts of Asia Foundation Development Fellows and other young and inspirational changemakers from across Asia will meet to discuss shared development challenges, build and deepen networks of support, promote knowledge sharing, recognize achievements, and highlight creative avenues for innovation and collaboration.
  • Leadership Dialogue and Exchange, Part 2, in USA, from 12 to 26 September 2020: Over a two-week period, the Fellows will take part in a comprehensive series of programs, policy discussions, and unique learning and leadership development opportunities organized in and around San Francisco and Washington, D.C.


All program expenses are covered, including costs for coursework and programming, airfares and local transportation, lodging and meals, visa fees, and health and accident insurance. Fellows also receive a Professional Development Award of up to US$5,000 for their own personalized professional development plan. This cash award will allow each Fellow the opportunity to design individualized plans to further their leadership skills and relevant professional experience in areas of particular importance to their career growth. Each Fellow will be asked to develop a personalized, year-long work plan that can iclude enrollment in specialized training programs or short courses, language study, travel to attend key regional forums or workshops, or engagement in a series of other enrichment activities.

The program offers a mentoring component that is tailored around the background and professional interests of the Fellows. Fellows will also become part of an active and engaged alumni network.


Applicants must be below 40 years old: in other words, they must be born after 1 January 1980. They have to be resident nationals or citizens of the following countries where The Asia Foundation has programs: Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Laos; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Timor-Leste; and, Vietnam.

They need to have a record of experience and accomplishment related to The Asia Foundation’s fields of expertise, namely, governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. They need to have a record of high achievement, and must show evidence of outstanding potential for professional advancement and significant impact in their chosen field. They have to be thoughtful, committed, respected and inspirational leaders within their professional fields and within their larger community and be conversant in English. They must be available to participate in all program components on the program dates specified.

It is not necessary to possess a degree, as the program focuses on strong leadership potential, relevant professional experience, and thematic knowledge. Those who have completed an academic degree program are required to submit an unofficial copy of their transcripts verifying completion of their degree program. Although there is no minimum work experience requirement, applicants have to show excellent track records of at least several years of professional experience and accomplishment in their own disciplines. The program is looking for outstanding leadership potential and professional competencies, and much of this typically comes from experience in dynamic working environments.


Applications are to be done online by 7 October 2019.

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