Calling for Applications: YSEALI Academic Fellowship – Fall 2019 (Deadline: May 21, 2019)

2019 YSEALI Spring Awardees

Application Deadline: May 21, 2019

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship is an intensive short term academic Institutes whose purpose is to provide groups of young leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States and a particular theme, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  The Fellowship will focus on one of three themes: Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management, and Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, and the five-week Institutes will consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures.  The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community.  The programs will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a domestic study tour of approximately one week.  During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom. After the academic residency, Fellows will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations working in the field. The Fellowship will then conclude in Washington, D.C.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement will provide Fellows with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups.  The Fellowship will define civic engagement, examine its development in the U.S., and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism.  Other topics such as civil rights, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, and media will be discussed.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  Pending the final grants approval process, the University of Nebraska – Omaha and Kennesaw State University will each host one fellowship on Civic Engagement from September 21 to October 26, 2019.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management will explore the role that environmental policy has played in the economic and political development of the United States.  The Fellowship will use experiential learning techniques to expose participants to current themes in the field, including natural resource management, sustainable development/sustainable agricultural practices, food security, ecotourism, energy generation (new and traditional forms), and water management and treatment.  The issues will be explored from numerous angles: local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, market-oriented approaches, and federal government policies and regulation.  Finally, the Fellowship will explore environmental issues in the context of a globalized society, and draw comparisons between the United States and the participants’ home countries.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations. Pending the final grants approval process, the University of Montana and the East-West Center will each host one Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management from August 21 to September 25, 2019.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will provide Fellows with an overview of entrepreneurial approaches that are employed to address social and economic issues. The Fellowship will review the development, history, challenges, and successes of social enterprises and community leaders, in the United States and globally.  Topics include, but are not limited to, trade; investment; financial literacy; banking; microfinance; organizational development and management; grant writing; innovation; emerging markets and risk analysis; strategic business planning; corporate social responsibility; and, women and minorities in entrepreneurship.  Students will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations.  Pending the final grants approval process, the University of Connecticut and Brown University will each host on Fellowship on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Fellowship from September 7 to October 11, 2019.

Who is eligible to apply?

Young leaders from ASEAN countries who are current undergraduate or graduate students, or have recently graduated.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Applicants must be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 25 at the time of application;
  • A YSEALI member – if you are not a YSEALI member yet, click here to register and become a member;
  • A citizen of Cambodia;
  • A resident of Cambodia;
  • A full-time undergraduate student from college, university, or other institutions of higher learning; or have graduated in the past four years;
  • Proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English; and
  • Eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa. (For information about the J-1 visa, please visit

What are the selection criteria?

Applicants should:

  • Demonstrate interest, knowledge, or professional experience  in Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management, or Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university, place of work, and/or community;
  • Demonstrate a commitment or interest in community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States and Southeast Asia as a region;
  • Be willing to actively participate in an intensive academic  program, community service, and study tour;
  • Have a commitment to return to Cambodia to apply leadership skills and training to benefit community, country, or the Southeast Asia region; and
  • Preferably have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States.

How do I apply?

If you are already a member of YSEALI and would like to apply for this Fellowship, please submit your applications including a completed application form and supporting documents no later than May 21, 2019.

The supporting documents may include your transcripts, passport, and TOEFL/IELTS score report (if available).

They should be combined in one PDF file, and be submitted by email to the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Attn: YSEALI Academic Fellowship – Fall 2019, email:

The application form can be downloaded here (DOCX: 167 KB). Application Deadline: May 21, 2019

Other Essential Program Information:

* Program Funding: Through cooperative agreements to the host universities, ECA will cover all participant costs, including: international travel costs; travel allowances; program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowance; and housing and subsistence.

* Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in university dorms or university hotels. Fellows may be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though Fellows may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.

* Host institutions will take care to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.

* Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at

* Program Requirements and Restrictions: Fellows are expected to fully participate in the academic program.  They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Candidates should be made aware that the Institutes are very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.

* Under no circumstances are Fellows allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date.  Similarly, Fellows will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis, in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.

* Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.

* English Language Ability: All candidates should be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of Fellows may vary, and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for Fellows where English is their second or third language.