The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center (MC) of the University of Montana (UM) is honored to host a program of the U.S. Department of State: the Economic Empowerment Fellows Program for Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The objective of the program is to build economic opportunity from the ground up by supporting participants in their efforts to broaden opportunity and to ensure that the benefits of growth and trade are widely distributed. The focus is on promoting market access, competitiveness, protection of environmental and labor rights, workforce development, and entrepreneurial training. The program is for all populations, but includes an emphasis on women, youth, and indigenous communities.
In the 2014 program, 28 southeast Asians and 12 Americans will travel between May 2014 and January 2015. Southeast Asian participants will engage in a 37-day program in the U.S. in one of two cohorts: 14 Asian Fellows will travel to the U.S. in May-June, and 14 Asian Fellows will travel in a second group from October-November.
With participant Fellowships as a centerpiece, our program offers a hands-on approach to issues shared by the countries of Southeast Asia in cultivating economic empowerment. The program features business-skills training that culminates in each participant developing an action plan to advance the project goal: building economic opportunity from the ground up by supporting participants in their efforts to broaden social opportunity and to ensure that the benefits of growth and trade are more widely distributed.
Each Asian Fellow will be matched with a Montana participant for a fellowship of approximately three weeks. Matches will be made given shared interests, type of organization, and best opportunity for achieving program goals. During this period, the Asian participant will learn from the Montana fellowship host, as well as share ideas from his/her home country. The Asian Fellow will develop a critical needs assessment based on his/her work and a corollary action plan for specific takeaways that can be implemented back home.
Please note that this is not a one-to-one exchange. In the past, many Montanans have not been able to participate in the program because they do not wish to travel overseas. This year, we encourage those who are interested solely in hosting, rather than in traveling, to apply. Those U.S. participants that are interested in becoming one of the 12 travelers should make this clear on their application. The 12 U.S. participant travelers are expected to travel in January 2015, though exceptions to this time frame occur.
Our Montana partners include: the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the City of Missoula, the Missoula Economic Partnership, the Missoula Downtown Association, S&K Technologies, Montana Community Development Corporation, the Montana World Trade Center, the Sustainable Business Council, and the Missoula Businesswomen’s Network.
Our foreign partners are: Help Our Homeland in Cambodia; Participatory Development Training Center (PADETC) in Laos; Chiang Mai University in Thailand; and the Center for Empowerment in Vietnam.
The Mansfield Center
Level 4, Mansfield Library
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-2181 fax
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