Executive Summary

The objective of the Civic Engagement program is to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build sustainable partnerships between emerging leaders from foreign countries and the U.S. In turn, U.S. participants gain valuable cross-cultural insights and new perspectives on their own professions. The program has had nearly 200 past participants since 2012, who evaluated the experience as worthwhile and highly beneficial to themselves and their workplaces.

In 2019, 38 Southeast Asians and 13 Americans will travel between April 2019 and June 2020. Southeast Asian participants will engage in a 38-day program in the U.S. in one of two cohorts: 20 Asian Fellows will travel to the U.S. in  late April through late May, and 18 Asian Fellows will travel in a second group from mid- October to mid-November.

In the 2020 program, 44 Southeast Asians and 16 Americans will travel between April 2020 and June 2021. Southeast Asian participants will engage in a 38-day program in the U.S. in one of two cohorts: 22 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 Southeast Asian 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 to advance their professional goals.

Each Southeast Asian Fellow will be matched with a U.S. participant for a fellowship of four weeks, with Fellows connecting virtually and in-person on a weekly basis for leadership training. Matches will be made given shared interests, type of organization, and best opportunity for achieving program goals. During this period, the Southeast Asian participant will learn from the U.S. fellowship host, as well as share ideas from his/her home country. The Southeast Asian Fellow will develop an action plan for specific takeaways that can be implemented back home.

Please note that this is not a one-to-one exchange. In 2019, an estimated 17 U.S. professional fellowship hosts will have the opportunity to travel to their fellowship partner's home country. In 2020, 16 U.S. professional fellowship hosts will travel to Southeast Asia. The U.S. professional hosts will be selected on the basis of: the success of the fellowship and how well program goals are met, the Fellow's action plan, and potential for ongoing collaboration. U.S. participants selected from the 2019 program will travel between August 2019 and June 2020, and U.S. participants selected from the 2020 program will travel between August 2020 and June 2021.

Our Montana partners include: the Missoula Federal Credit UnionMontana DEQUniversity of North Dakota, University of Colorado Denver, and many more. Read our full list of local partners. 

Our foreign partners are:  the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia; the Rural Development Agency (RDA) in Laos; Thai Volunteer Service; the Center for Community Empowerment in Vietnam; the NGO Hub in Malaysia; YGOAL in the Philippines; Vertech Capital in Singapore; and Kitabisa in Indonesia.