YSEALI Civic Engagement Program at the University of Montana 1100 views

Type of Funding

Fully funded




Bright young leaders from Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam are invited to apply for the YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) Civic Engagement Program for Spring 2020, hosted by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana.

The focus for the 2020 program is Civic Engagement and 44 Southeast Asians and 16 Americans will travel between April 2020 and June 2021. In 2020, 22 Southeast Asian Fellows will travel to the U.S. in mid-April to late May 2020 (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 2020 (Fall 2020 cohort).

Fellows will take part in practical lessons, culminating with each Southeast Asian fellow developing an Action Plan with follow-on projects supported by the U.S. Fellowship partner, the Mansfield Center, and the Professional Fellows alumni network. Some Southeast Asian Fellows will be placed together in U.S. fellowship organizations. This allows for more processing and discussion with the Fellows, resulting in enhanced coordination between the Fellows after the program. Each cohort of Southeast Asian Fellows will spend 1 month in the state of Montana, Colorado, Idaho, or Washington, followed by a 1-week program in Washington, D.C. to pursue individual professional appointments, cultural activities, and to attend the Professional Exchange Congress of the U.S. Department of State.

The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program is a professional development exchange program for the best community leaders from Southeast Asia, working in the fields of civic engagement, NGO management, economic empowerment, governance, legislative process, environmental and natural resources management. The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program provides participants a month-long fellowship at U.S.-based non-profit or other organizations, government offices or legislative bodies. Fellows will work with community leaders to enhance their practical expertise, leadership skills and professional contacts to address issues in their home communities.


All travel, lodging, and meals for the Southeast Asian Fellows while in the U.S. will be covered. The Fellows will stay in hotels during much of the program. However, as an important component of the program is a cultural introduction to the U.S., 2-week home stays will be arranged for the Southeast Asian Fellows. There is no stipend or honorarium provided to Southeast Asian participants for their time.

There is no funding available for Southeast Asian Fellows when hosting U.S. participants in Southeast Asia.

All international and domestic travel, lodging, cultural activities, and meals for U.S. participants are covered while traveling in Southeast Asia. This includes visa expenses but does not include passport cost. There is no funding available for expenses incurred by U.S. partners while hosting Southeast Asian Fellows in the U.S.


Southeast Asian applicants should be bright young professionals aged 25 to 35 from Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam, with strong leadership qualities and potential. They should be emerging professionals with the background to benefit from this learning experience. Completion of relevant education is preferred but not required. innovative ideas for tackling the greatest challenges in the ASEAN region, in the area of civic engagement.

Organizers will ascertain the suitability of the applicant’s organization to benefit from this exchange and to host a U.S. participant. Applicants should also have the potential commitment to hosting a U.S. participant for 10 to 21 days. This includes organizing a professional program, a cultural orientation, and in some countries working with the local partner and the Mansfield Center to organize logistics such as lodging and transportation. (All activities will be paid for by the program, not by the Southeast Asian fellow or his/her organization.)

Applicants must receive the support of their supervisors and organizations for this fellowship and applicants must be committed to investing time in this fellowship to make it a success. They should be interested in working in cross-cultural settings and understand program objectives, as well as are able to communicate their personal goals in line with program objectives. They have to be committed to strengthening their communities and have had little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States. They have to be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive program, Fellowship placement, community service, and travel program in the U.S. for approximately 38 days. Applicants should be individuals who are able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those in their countries and understand that the program is a busy professional program.

Participants chosen from each country will reflect the diversity of that country in terms of its populace, geography, and variety of economic interests/fields/organizations.

Applicants must be proficient in English and plan to return to their organization following completion of the program. Their personal goals must be in line with the objectives of the program.


Applications are to be done online or via email or by post by 1 November 2019.

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