Economic Empowerment Program 2014

Economic Empowerment Program banner

In 2014, the Mansfield Center had the honor of hosting our third Professional Fellows Program of the U.S. Department of State with a focus on Economic Empowerment.

The Economic Empowerment Exchange Program for Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam is designed to support mid-level Southeast Asian professionals who seek to be empowered with concrete skills they can use to generate economic growth, with the objective to increase incomes and reduce poverty in their respective countries through access to more economic opportunities.  In turn, U.S. participants, mid-level or higher, receive valuable cross-cultural and business communication knowledge to apply to their own professions.  Past Montana participants—42 since program inception in 2012!—have all evaluated the experience as worthwhile and highly beneficial to themselves and their workplaces.

In the 2014 program, 28 Southeast Asians and 12 Americans traveled from May 2014 to January 2015.  Southeast Asian participants engaged in a 37-day program in the U.S. in one of two cohorts:  14 Southeast Asian Fellows traveled to the U.S. from May-June, and 14 Southeast Asian Fellows traveled to the U.S. from October-November.

With participant Fellowships as a centerpiece, our program offered a hands-on approach to issues shared by the countries of Southeast Asia in cultivating economic empowerment.  The program featured business-skills training, and culminated with 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.

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 occur.

How do Montana and Southeast Asian Fellows Benefit? 
Learn More from these Media Articles

Minh on a Montana Farm
(State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs)

International Delegates Visit Bitterroot Valley Farms
(Ravalli Republic)

Good Impressions: Laos Chamber Visitor Finds Much to Emulate in Kalispell Model
(Daily Inter Lake)

ProFellows Digest April 2013
Our Fellows can be found on pages 2-5

ProFellows Digest May 2013
Our Fellows can be found on pages 2-5

Building Strong Ties Through Friendship
(State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs)

Become a State Department Fellow!

Foreign participants: The formal application period has closed for Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Thank you for your interest in this program.  If you have just become aware of the program and are interested in learning more, please contact Program Manager Kelsey Stamm at as future opportunities may arise.

Read roles and responsibilities for Southeast Asian participants. 

Read the Professional Fellows Program description from the U.S. Department of State.

American participants: Applications are now closed for Fellowship Coordinators and host families for our visiting participants.

Application for US participants only.

Read roles and responsibilities for American participants.

Fellowship Coordinators: Professionals from the business and non-profit community in Montana participate as Fellowship Coordinators for our foreign participants. If you have expertise in business skills and are interested in hosting a foreign participant, contact Kelsey Stamm for more information.

Host families: Host families can be anything from hosting participants for an evening at your home or at a community event to a two-week homestay. If you’re interested in being involved, please contact Kelsey Stamm.

Our Foreign Partners

Our Montana Partners

If you are interested in being a host organization for one of our visiting participants, please contact Kelsey Stamm (406-243-2838).

This segment of the Mansfield Center website is funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and managed by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. The content of this site does not reflect the opinion of the U.S. Department of State, the United States, or its officers or employees.