YSEALI Academic Fellows Program

YSEALI Academic Fellows Program

Call for Applications: YSEALI Academic Fellowship (Spring 2019)

The Public Affairs Section of 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 Spring 2019!

I. Program Overview

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is a public diplomacy program designed to advance regional strategic goals, break down barriers that separate the next generation of leaders in Southeast Asia, and link those emerging leaders to the United States.  To this end, the YSEALI Fellowship will bring exceptional young leaders from Southeast Asian countries to the United States to further develop their professional and leadership skills.  The Study of the U.S. Branch implements the YSEALI Academic Fellowship aimed at young leaders aged 18-25.  In fall 2018 and spring 2019, the YSEALI Academic Fellowship will bring approximately 250 current or recently graduated students from eleven Southeast Asian countries to the U.S. for five week Institutes at pre-eminent U.S. universities and colleges.  All programs will conclude in Washington, D.C. to allow for networking with policy makers, government representatives, businesses, and think tanks.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowships are intensive short term academic Institutes whose purpose is to provide groups of young leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, and a particular theme, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  The Fellowship will focus on one of three themes: Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management, and Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, and the five-week Institutes will consist of a balanced 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 within the local community.  The Institutes will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a domestic study tour of approximately one week.  During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.

II. 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 U.S., and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism.  Other topics such as civil rights, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, and media will be discussed.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of non-profit organizations. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local, state, private, and not-for-profit organizations working in the field.  The Fellowship will then conclude with a visit to Washington, D.C.  Pending the final grants approval process, the Study of the U.S. Branch will notify posts of the location and dates for the Institutes. The Fellowships will be hosted by the University of Nebraska – Omaha and Arizona State University from March 23 to April 27.

YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management 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 natural resource management, sustainable development/sustainable agricultural practices, food security, ecotourism, energy generation (new and traditional forms), and water management and treatment.  The issues will be explored from numerous angles: local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, market-oriented approaches, and federal government policies and regulation.  Finally, the Fellowships 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 have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  The academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations working in the field.  The Fellowships will then conclude with a visit to Washington, D.C.  The Fellowships will be hosted by the University of Montana and the East-West Center from April 3 to May 8.

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 issues. The Fellowships will review the development, history, challenges, and successes of social enterprises and community leaders, in the United States and globally.  Topics may 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 have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational study tour that will take participants to other parts of the United States where they will meet with local, state, private, and nonprofit organizations working in the field. The Fellowship will then conclude with a 3 day program in Washington, DC.  The Fellowships will be hosted by the University of Connecticut and Brown University from March 23 to April 26.

III. Other Essential Program Information:

A. Program Funding

Through cooperative agreements to the host universities, the U.S. government will cover all participant costs, including: international travel costs; travel allowances; program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.

B. Housing and Meal Arrangements

Housing will be in university dorms or university hotels.  Fellows may be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender.  Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though Fellows may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.  It is important that candidates are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.

Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.

C. Health Benefits

All participants will receive the U.S. Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions are not covered.

D. Program Requirements and Restrictions

Fellows are expected to fully participate in the academic program.  They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings.

Under no circumstances are Fellows allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date.  Similarly, Fellows will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis, in consultation with the program officer and the host institution.

Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

E. English Language Ability

All candidates should be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of Fellows may vary, and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for Fellows where English is their second or third language.

IV. 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.

Priority will be given to applicants from non-elite backgrounds, from both rural and urban areas, and with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of the Philippines.  Applications are encouraged from underserved groups including indigenous groups, ethnic minority communities, and candidates with disabilities.

Applicants must meet the minimum criteria:

  • Be a YSEALI member. Register for free at http://yseali.state.gov
  • Between the ages of 18 and 25 at the time of application;
  • A citizen or 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 U.S.;
  • Eligible to receive a United States J-1 visa;
  • 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
  • Preferably have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States.

V. Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What degree of English proficiency should I have? All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
  2. Can an applicant who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in the Academic Fellows Institute? No.  U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
  3. 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.
  4. How much free time will I have during the program?  There will be some free time during the program.  However, applicants MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.
  5. If I have relatives in the U.S., would I have time to see them?  Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the Institute 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.
  6. Can I arrive early/late or stay after the Institute? No.  Participants who choose to travel to the United States as a YSEALI Academic Fellow are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program.  These terms state clearly that student leaders may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the institute.
  7. Can I miss one component of the Institute?  No.  All Fellows are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.
  8. How much money will I need to bring for the program?  The YSEALI program covers all basic costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals.  Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan, a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants, and/or a cash allowance to permit participants to purchase food for cooking.  Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution six weeks prior to the start of the Institute.  Other than the meal stipend mentioned above, participants should not expect to receive any spending money from the Institute.  Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.

VI. Application and fellowship timeline:

  • October 11, 2018 – Application opens
  • November 7, 2018 – Application closes
  • November 22, 2018 – Panel interview for shortlisted applicants
  • January 2019 – Successful applicants are notified
  • March 2019 – Pre-departure activities in Manila for successful applicants
  • March 23 to April 27 – YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement at the University of Nebraska – Omaha and Arizona State University.
  • March 23 to April 27 – YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at the University of Connecticut and Brown University.
  • April 3 to May 8 – YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management at the University of Montana and the East-West Center.

APPLY HERE: https://goo.gl/jcjxAt

Application deadline: November 7, 2018, 11:59 P.M.

Successful applicants will be notified via email by January 2019. Results will also be posted at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ official Facebook page by March 2019.  For questions, please email ysealiphilippines@state.gov.