YSEALI Civic Engagement Program

Lao ladies at UM
Chau with telescope
Orientation at UM
At the top of the mountain

The Professional Fellows Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and managed by the Mansfield Center. The focus for 2018 is Civic Engagement, with an emphasis on women’s empowerment. The program for Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam is designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build sustainable partnerships between emerging leaders from foreign countries and the U.S.

This program is a component of YSEALI: the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative. YSEALI consists of bright young leaders aged 18-35 years from Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These young leaders have innovative ideas for tackling what they have identified as their generation's greatest challenges in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region: economic development, environmental protection, education, and civic engagement. The United States is partnering with these extraordinary young men and women by providing training and funding to up-and-coming community leaders and social entrepreneurs. This Fellows program of the University of Montana is specifically open to young leaders aged 25-35 from Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In the 2018 program, 32 Southeast Asians and a minimum of 12 Americans will travel between April 2018 and June 2019. Southeast Asian participants will engage in a 38-day program in the U.S. in one of two cohorts: 16 Southeast Asian Fellows will travel to the U.S. late April to early June, and 16 Southeast Asian Fellows will travel in a second group from mid-October to mid-November.

With participant Fellowships as a centerpiece, our program offers a hands-on approach to issues shared by the countries of the Lower Mekong by enhancing leadership and professional skills in civic engagement while building sustainable partnerships. The program features practical lessons that culminate in each Southeast Asian participant developing an Action Plan with follow-on projects supported by the U.S. Fellowship partner, the Mansfield Center, and the Professional Fellows alumni network.

As professional interests allow, some Southeast Asian Fellows will be placed together in U.S. fellowship organizations. This allows for more processing and discussion with the Fellows, resulting in enhanced coordination between the Fellows after the program.

How do Montana and Southeast Asian Fellows Benefit? 
Follow the Fellows’ daily experiences in our program blog


Become a YSEALI State Department Fellow!


Applications for each country are found in the links below:

 We will be accepting applications for the fall 2018 program from February 19 - March 30, 2018.

Read about the roles and responsibilities for Southeast Asian participants. 

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

 American participants:

Americans have the opportunity to participate in either or both of two capacities – serving as a fellowship host or as a host family. The fellowship host is responsible for the professional exchange and the fellow’s professional experience, and the host family provides the equally important cultural exchange experience.

Fellowship Hosts: Professionals from non-profit, government, business, and academia may participate as fellowship hosts for Southeast Asian fellows.

Application for American Fellowship Coordinator

Read the roles and responsibilities for American Participants.

Host families: Host families can serve in many capacities – from hosting fellows for an evening at your home, at a community event, or providing a two-week homestay experience. If you are interested in being involved in any capacity please contact Kelsey Stamm Jimenez.

Information Form for Host Families

Host Family Guidelines

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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.