YSEALI Academic Fellows

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellows Program will accept applications for the Fall 2019 cohort from now until May 31, 2019!

Overview

The YSEALI Fall 2019 Academic Fellows Program brings undergraduates or recently graduated students between the ages of 18 and 25 to the United States for a five-week institute held on the campus of a U.S. college or university.

These five week institutes, held on the campus of a U.S. university or college, will include an academic residency, leadership development, an educational study tour, local community service activities, and opportunities to engage with American peers. The program will conclude in Washington, D.C., to allow for engagement with policymakers, governmental representatives, businesses, and think tanks.

Program Themes & Dates for Fall 2019:

  • Civic Engagement (Sept. 21 to Oct. 26, 2019)
  • Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management (Aug. 21 to Sept. 25, 2019)
  • Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (Sept. 7 to Oct. 11, 2019)

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. They should 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 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 can be considered if they meet all other eligibility requirements;
  • A citizen of one of the following countries: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam;
  • A resident of one of the following countries: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam;
  • 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 United States J-1 visa; and

Applicants should:

  • Demonstrate interest, knowledge, or professional experience in Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management, or 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.

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.

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 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.

This FAQ section addresses some commonly asked questions.  If you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact: SingaporeYSEALI@state.gov.

What degree of English proficiency should a participant 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.

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.

Will an applicant be disqualified if he/ she has previously traveled to the U.S.?
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.

How much free time will a participant have during the program?
There will be some free time during the program.  However, participants 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.

If a participant has relatives in the U.S., would he/she 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 ECA program officer and the host institution.

Can a participant 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.

Can a participant miss one component of the Institute?
No.  All Fellows are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.

How much money will participants 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.

My nominee participated in the English Access Microscholarship Program; can he/she participate in this Institute?

Yes.

Are participants permitted to smoke during the Institute? 

Yes.  However, participants should be aware that many places in the United States now prohibit smoking.  Smoking in such places could be considered a violation of the law.  Some places that may prohibit smoking are university housing, classrooms, office buildings, restaurants, public parks, and other locations.  Smoking laws will vary from location to location so participants who smoke should look for designated smoking areas.

Program Funding:
The YSEALI program 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.

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

 

Health Benefits:
All participants will receive the 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.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at usdos.sevencorners.com.

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. The Institutes are very intensive and, there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.  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 ECA 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.

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.

Application process timeline:

  • From April 24, 2019, until May 31, 2019: Application Period
  • Mid-July 2019:  Selection of candidates
  • late-July 2019 – Notification of selected participants for Programs

Application Details: