YSEALI Civic Engagement Program

Three female fellows from Lao Pose in front of the University of Montana main hall
Female fellow looking through a telescope surrounded by mountains
Four fellows walking with a University of Montana student for orientation
Male Fellow jumping 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 2020 is Civic Engagement. The program for Southeast Asia 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 25-35 years from Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as from Timor Leste. 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 ASEAN countries and Timor Leste, providing training and funding to up-and-coming community leaders and social entrepreneurs.

In 2020, 44 Southeast Asians and 16 Americans will travel between April 2020 and June 2021. Twenty-two Southeast Asian Fellows will travel to the U.S. in mid-April to late May, and another 22 Southeast Asian Fellows will travel in the second cohort to the U.S. in late September through early November.

With participant Fellowships as a centerpiece, our program offers a hands-on approach to issues shared by the ASEAN countries 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:

Applications by country are available via the links below for the Fall 2020 cohort, open February 1 – April 7, 2020.

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. Please see the below roles and responsibilities of US hosts. Those interested may contact Kelsey Stamm Jimenez.

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

Our Foreign Partners

Centre for Community Empowerment Vietnam Logo and Link

Rural Development Agency of Lao Logo and Link

Thai Volunteer Service Foundation Logo and Link

Cooperation Committee for Cambodia Logo and Link

kitabisa logo and link
Leadership Empowerment and Development Institute Logo and Link
Vertech Logo and Link
Y Goal Logo and Link
NGO hub logo with the motto "we serve changemakers"

Our Local Partners


Open Media Alliance Logo
University of North Dakota
Arts Street Logo
Forward Montana Logo
Montana DEQ Logo
Make A Difference Now
Jitasa Logo
iDE Logo
Peace Jam
Altru Health Logo
Missoula Federal Credit Union
Open Aid Alliance
CU Denver
Art Salvage logo
MLK Outreach Center
MT Human Rights Network
The Roxy Theater
UW College of Education
League of Women Voters
Downtown Clinic Logo
IDE Energy
City of Spokane
Disability Rights Montana
Missoula Job Service
University of Wyoming at Casper

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.