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Call for Applications: Fall 2023 YSEALI Academic Fellowship
April 3, 2023

Collage of photos showing YSEALI fellows and text saying: "Fall 2023 YSEALI Academic Fellowship Program. Deadline to apply: May 1, 2023, 11:59pm Philippine Standard Time"


The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines is pleased to announce the call for applications for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowships for Fall 2023!

Program Overview

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship will bring exceptional young leaders, aged 18-25, from Southeast Asian countries to the United States develop professional and leadership skills. All expenses will be covered by the program.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship is an intensive short-term academic program that provides young leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States and of a particular theme, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  The Fellowship will focus on one of three themes: Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues, and Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.  The Academic Fellowship is a five-week in-person program in the United States between September to November 2023. Programing will consist of a series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities. During the residency, participants will also have opportunities to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom. If conditions allow, the Fellowship will include an educational study tour to other areas of the United States, where they will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations. Note that if the program takes place virtually, Fellows will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries.Shape

Program Themes
  • YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement
    The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement will provide Fellows with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups.  The Fellowship will define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as active citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, and volunteerism.  Other topics such as civil rights, social justice, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, and media will be discussed.  Fellows will also meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  Throughout the Fellowship participants will develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities.  The University of Nebraska – Omaha and Portland State University will each conduct and host one Institute.
  • YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues
    The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues will explore the role that environmental policy has played in the economic and political development of the United States.  The Fellowship will use experiential learning techniques to expose participants to current themes in the field, including climate change, sustainable development/sustainable agricultural practices, food security, ecotourism, renewable energy generation, and water management and treatment.  Fellows will explore the issues from numerous angles: local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, impacts on marginalized communities, private sector approaches, global multilateral efforts, and federal government policies and regulation.  Finally, the Fellowship will explore environmental issues in the context of a globalized society and draw comparisons between the United States and the participants’ home countries.  Fellows will also meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  The University of Montana and the East-West Center in Honolulu, HI will each conduct and host one Institute.
  • YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
    The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will provide Fellows with an overview of entrepreneurial approaches that are employed to address social and economic issues. The Fellowship will review the development, history, challenges, and successes of enterprises and community leaders, in the United States and globally. Topics include, but are not limited to, trade; investment; financial literacy; banking; microfinance; organizational development and management; grant writing; innovation; emerging markets and risk analysis; strategic business planning; corporate social responsibility; and women and minorities in entrepreneurship. Students will also meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations. The University of Connecticut and the University of Texas-Austin will each conduct and host one Institute.

Fellowship Qualifications

The YSEALI Academic Fellows are expected to be full-time undergraduate students from college, university, or other institutions of higher learning; or have graduated in the past four years, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, extracurricular activities, or their profession. Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields. Emphasis should be made on recruiting Fellows from non-elite backgrounds, from both rural and urban areas, and with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside their home country. In addition, recruitment of Fellows should include the underserved including but not limited to indigenous groups, ethnic minority communities, and candidates with disabilities. Please note ECA’s commitment to inclusion of people with disabilities in all ECA programming. Host universities will provide special accommodations for YSEALI Academic Fellows with disabilities as needed.

Applicants must be:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 25 at the time of application, although exceptional applicants over 25 may be considered if they meet all other eligibility requirements;
  • A citizen and resident of the Philippines;
  • A full-time undergraduate student from college, university, or other institutions of higher learning; or have graduated in the past four years;
  • Proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English;
  • Not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
  • Eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa; and

Selection criteria; successful applicants should:

  • Demonstrate interest, knowledge, or professional experience in Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues, or Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university, place of work, and/or community;
  • Demonstrate a commitment or interest in community service, volunteerism, or mentorship;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States and Southeast Asia as a region;
  • Be willing to actively participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and study tour;
  • Have a commitment to return to their home country to apply leadership skills and training to benefit their community, country, or the region of Southeast Asia; and
  • Have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States.

Register at https://yseali.state.gov/

Other Essential Program Information
  • Program Funding: Through cooperative agreements to the implementing partners, ECA will cover all participant costs, including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.  If the program must shift to a virtual format, ECA will work with the cooperative partners to provide a technology stipend to the Fellows.
  • Program Requirements and Restrictions: Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive and rigorous academic program and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the Fellowship.  Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments.  Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.  Please make these requirements clear to all nominees.
  • English Language Ability: English Language proficiency is required to participate in this program.  All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Therefore, candidate interviews must be conducted in English.  Host institutions will consider the varying levels of participants’ comprehension and speaking ability and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.  Posts must indicate the level of English language fluency in the nomination form.
  • Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.  It is important that nominees are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.
  • Reasonable Accommodations: Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
  • Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations.  ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States.  COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.
  • Travel Policy: Participants are not allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the Fellowship or remain in the United States after the end date.  Similarly, participants are not permitted to leave the Fellowship to visit relatives or friends while in the United States.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered on a case- by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer, the implementing partner, and the host institution.  Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.
  • Grounds for Dismissal: Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.
  • Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions pose significant challenges, the Academic Fellowship will pivot to a virtual format.  The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  To the extent possible, the virtual programming would include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities.  Participants would be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.
  • Connectivity: Participants will need access to a computer and a stable internet connection to engage in pre-Fellowship orientation activities.  If a participant does not have access to these two items, the cooperative partners will work with the Fellow and post to facilitate access.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • What degree of English proficiency should I have?
    All participants must be fully proficient in English. Throughout the program, they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
  • Can an applicant who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in the Academic Fellows Program?
    No.  U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
  • I have been to the U.S. before; would I be disqualified?
    No.  Applicants with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program.  However, priority will be given to applicants with no previous experience in the United States.
  • If I have relatives in the U.S., would I have time to see them?
    Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the program to visit relatives or friends.  Occasionally, it is possible for a relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution if the schedule permits.  These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the program officer and the host institution.
  • Can I arrive early/late or stay after the Program?
    No.  Participants who choose to travel to the United States as YSEALI Academic Fellows are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program.  These terms state that Fellows may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the program.

Application and Fellowship Timeline
  • April 3, 2023: Application opens
  • May 1, 2023 11:59 PM, Philippine Standard Time: Application closes
  • May 15-19, 2023: Notification of shortlisted applicants.
  • July-August 2023: Announcement of results
  • Between September-November 2023: Academic Fellowship Program (contingent upon health, safety, and travel conditions)

APPLY HERE: https://bit.ly/ysealiphacadfall_2023 

Application deadline: May 1, 2023, 11:59 P.M. Philippine Standard Time  

  • Due to the number of applications received, the Secretariat may not be able to acknowledge receipt of each application.
  • Only shortlisted applicants for interviews will be notified by May 19, 2023.
  • Successful applicants will be notified via email.  Results will also be posted on the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ official Facebook page.
  • For questions, please email