Calling for Applications: YSEALI Academic Fellowship – Spring 2020 (Deadline: October 31, 2019)

2019 YSEALI Spring Awardees

Application Deadline: October 31, 2019

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 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.  In spring 2020, the YSEALI Academic Fellowship will bring approximately 125 current or recently graduated students from eleven Southeast Asian countries to the U.S. for five-week Institutes at pre-eminent U.S. universities and colleges.  All programs will conclude in Washington, D.C. to allow for networking with policy makers, government representatives, businesses, and think tanks.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowships are 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 Institutes 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.

Program Themes

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 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. The University of Nebraska – Omaha and Arizona State University will each host one Fellowship on Civic Engagement from March 14 to April 18, 2020.

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 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 leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations. The University of Montana and the East-West Center will each host one Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management from March 25 to April 29, 2020.

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 leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations. The University of Connecticut and Brown University will each host on Fellowship on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development from March 21 to April 24, 2020. 

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 Cambodian citizen;
  • 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 http://j1visa.state.gov/.)

What are the selection criteria?

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 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.

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 October 31, 2019

The supporting documents may include your degrees, transcripts, and TOEFL score report (if available). They must be submitted by email to the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, Attn: Applying for Spring 2020 YSEALI Academic Fellowship, email: PASExchanges@state.gov

Application form can be downloaded here. Application Deadline: October 31, 2019

* Please be noted that any late submissions or incomplete forms will NOT be considered.

Other Essential Program Information:

Program Funding

Through cooperative agreements to the host universities, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs, including: international travel costs; travel allowances; program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; 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.  It is important that candidates are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.

Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.

Health Benefits

All participants will receive the U.S. 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Program Timeline

  • Submission deadline: October 31st, 2019 (late application submission will NOT be considered)
  • Interview for shortlisted candidates: Late November, 2019
  • Final Selection Results: January 2020