Call for Applications: YSEALI Academic Fellowships – Fall 2022

Application Deadline: May 31, 2022 

Program Overview 

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is a public diplomacy program designed to advance regional strategic goals, break down barriers that separate the next generation of leaders in Southeast Asia, and link those emerging leaders to the United States.  To this end, the YSEALI Academic Fellowship will bring exceptional young leaders from Southeast Asian countries to the United States to further develop their professional and leadership skills.  The Study of the U.S. Branch implements the YSEALI Academic Fellowship aimed at young leaders aged 18-25. 

Program Description and Themes 

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship is an intensive short-term academic program 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 Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. 

The five-week programs 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.  During the academic residency, participants will also have opportunities to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.  If conditions allow, the Fellowship will include an educational study tour to other areas of the United States where they will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations working in the field.  Note that if the program must take place virtually, Fellows will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries. 

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 United States, and explore topics such as active citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, and volunteerism.  Other topics such as civil rights, social justice, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, and media will be discussed.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  Throughout the Fellowship participants will develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities. The University of Nebraska – Omaha and Portland State University will each conduct and host one Institute. 

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues 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 climate change, sustainable development/sustainable agricultural practices, food security, ecotourism, renewable energy generation, and water management and treatment.  Fellows will explore the issues from numerous angles: local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, impacts on marginalized communities, private sector approaches, global multilateral efforts, and federal government policies and regulation.  Finally, the Fellowships 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 meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  The University of Montana and the East-West Center will each conduct and host one Institute.  

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 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 meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations.  The University of Connecticut and the University of Texas-Austin will each conduct and host one Institute. 

CANDIDATE DESCRIPTION AND QUALIFICATIONS:  

The YSEALI Academic Fellows are expected to be full-time undergraduate students from college, university, or other institutions of higher learning; or have graduated in the past four years, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, extracurricular activities, or their profession.  Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields. Please note ECA’s commitment to inclusion of people with disabilities in all ECA programming. Host universities will provide special accommodations for YSEALI Academic Fellows with disabilities as needed. 

Candidates nominated for this program must be: 

  • A YSEALI member – if you are not a YSEALI member yet, click here to register and become a member; 
  • A citizen of Cambodia 
  • Between the ages of 18 and 25 at the time of application, although exceptional applicants over 25 can be considered if they meet all other eligibility requirements; 
  • 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; 
  • Not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States; 

 Selection criteria; successful applicants should: 

  • Demonstrate interest, knowledge, or professional experience in Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues, 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 virtual academic program, community service, and study tour; 
  • Have a commitment to return to their home country to apply leadership skills and training to benefit their community, country, or the region of Southeast Asia; and 
  • Preferably, have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States; and 
  • Underserved communities, including indigenous groups and candidates with disabilities, are
    highly encouraged to apply. 

 APPLICATION TIMELINE: 

  • May 31, 2022: Application window closes 
  • June 20-24: Interview Period (Only selected semi-finalists will be notified and contacted) 
  • August 2022: Announcement of selected finalists. 
  • Fall 2022 (August-November timeframe) 

Participants travel to the U.S., (Contingent upon health, safety, and travel conditions) 

HOW TO APPLY? 

* Download the application form here

 Please email completed form to YSEALICambodia@state.gov (with email subject “Fall 2022 YSEALI AFP Application”) before or by Tuesday, May 31, 2022 @ 24:00 (Cambodia time) 

* Please be noted that any late submission or incomplete form will NOT be considered. 

For any inquiries, please email YSEALICambodia@state.gov or call 023 728 683 

Other Essential Program Information: 

Program Funding: Through cooperative agreements to the host universities, the U.S. Department of State will cover all participant costs, including: international travel costs; technology allowances for the virtual program; travel allowances; program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence. 

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive and rigorous academic program and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the Fellowship. Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments.  Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program. 

English Language Ability: English Language proficiency is required to participate in this program.  All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Host institutions will consider the varying levels of participants’ comprehension and speaking ability and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language. 

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities.  Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters.  In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible.  Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. 

Health Benefits:  All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations.  ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States.  COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos. 

Travel Policy: Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the Fellowship or remain in the United States after the end date.  Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Fellowship to visit relatives or friends while in the United States.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered on a case- by-case basis in consultation with the program officer and the host institution.  Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute. 

Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. 

Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the Academic Fellowship will pivot to a virtual format.  The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  To the extent possible, the virtual programming would include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities.  Participants would be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location. 

Connectivity: Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection.  If a participant does not have access to these two items, the cooperative partners will work with the Fellow to facilitate access. 

Participants will be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution, post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.