The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program for Young ASEAN Leaders 483 views

Type of Funding

Fully funded




The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellows Program is inviting the brightest community leaders from all the 11 ASEAN member states to apply for the Spring 2020 YSEALI Professional Fellows Program. In 2020, 22 Southeast Asian Fellows will travel to the U.S. in mid-April to late May (Spring 2020 cohort), and another 22 Southeast Asian Fellows will travel in the second cohort to the U.S. in late September through early November (Fall 2020 cohort). The program for Southeast Asia is designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build sustainable partnerships between emerging leaders from foreign countries and the U.S.

Applicants can choose an exchange under any 1 of the following themes:

  • Civic Engagement – Implementing Partner: University of Montana
  • Economic Empowerment – Implementing Partner: American Councils
  • Governance and Society – Implementing Partner: American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL)
  • Sustainable Development and the Environment – Implementing Partner: International City/County Management Association (ICMA).


YSEALI is a 1-month fully funded program which will enable YSEALI Fellows to work with fellow community leaders in the U.S., in non-profit or other organizations, government offices or legislative bodies, to enhance their practical expertise and leadership skills and widen professional contacts, which will help them address issues in their home communities.


Applicants must be young professionals from the 11 YSEALI countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam) who are leading change and innovation in civil society, the private sector, or the public sector.

They have to be mid-level professionals who are aged 25 to 35, who are currently employed and have 2 or more years of relevant work experience. They should be emerging leaders in government, civil society, or the private sector who have demonstrated expertise pertaining to the respective theme. They need to be proficient in English, are self-directed and able to work effectively in a cross-cultural setting, and are genuinely interested in developing an individual project of their own selection in their home workplace or community.

They should have a strong track record of leadership or positive impact in their community or workplace and have knowledge or professional experience in 1 of the YSEALI Professional Fellows Program themes. They need to be committed to or interested in community service, volunteerism, or mentorship. Applicants will be assessed on whether they have a a serious interest in learning about the United States, ASEAN, and Southeast Asia as a region and their willingness to actively participate in a professional work environment to develop professional capacities and leadership skills. They have to be committed to returning home to their countries to apply leadership skills and training to benefit their communities, countries, or the region.

Those with little or no prior work, study, or travel experience in the U.S. are preferred.

The target candidates for the 4 exchanges are:

  • Civic Engagement:  Emerging civil society/NGO leaders who focus on underrepresented populations;
  • Economic Empowerment: Emerging entrepreneurs and community leaders who focus on economic development;
  • Governance and Society: Emerging policymakers, political leaders, public administrators, journalists and NGO leaders who focus on legislative/governance processes and practices; and
  • Sustainable Development and the Environment: Emerging urban and green space planners, planning and sustainability directors, natural resource managers, and other private and public sector leaders who focus on sustainable development and environmental issues.

See the Official Website for specific eligibility requirements for each individual exchange.


Applications for the Spring 2020 program are to done online by 1 November 2019. Applicants are limited to applying to only 1 exchange.

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