YSEALI Academic Fellows (Spring 2022)

  1. YSEALI Academic Fellows (Spring 2022)
  2. YSEALI Professional Fellows

Call for Applications: YSEALI Academic Fellowship (Spring 2022)

The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lao PDR is pleased to announce the call for applications for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowships to candidates from Laos interested in the themes of Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues, and Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development for Spring 2022!

There will be two Institutes on each theme with each Institute composed of up to 22 Fellows.  The programs will utilize a hybrid format with an initial virtual component taking place from March through May 2022.  Over a period of approximately two to three weeks in the Fall 2022 or Spring 2023, an in-person component will take place in the United States at the host institution, contingent upon health, safety, and travel conditions.  Exact dates for both program components will be determined at a later time.

A total of 7 applicants from Laos will be selected to participate in the Spring 2022 program!

  • 3 For Environmental Issues
  • 2 For Civic Engagement
  • 2 For Social Entrepreneurship

Please note that only fully completed online applications will be evaluated. Please submit your application before 11:59 PM on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Please apply online here: https://bit.ly/3DaIiks

If you have questions, please contact us:
Public Diplomacy Section
U.S. Embassy, Vientiane Laos
Tel: 021-487000, ext. 7289
Fax: 856-21-48 8002 / 48 0554
E-mail: YSEALI_Laos@state.gov

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 Academic 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.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship is an intensive short-term academic program 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 Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.  The Academic Fellowship will include a virtual academic residency and an integrated in-person experience approximately two to three weeks in length at a U.S. host institution.  During the academic residency, participants will engage remotely from their home countries in Institute activities including academic sessions, site visits, leadership development exercises, and cultural activities.  If conditions allow, participants will travel to the U.S. in the Spring of 2022 to participate in educational and cultural activities inside and outside of the classroom, lectures and site visits to local communities.  The in-person component in the United States will be organized taking into consideration all necessary safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state, local, and campus authorities.

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 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 have the opportunity to 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 Kennesaw State University will conduct and host the Fellowship

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 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 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 meet with community leaders, and representatives of non-profit organizations.  The University of Montana and the East-West Center will conduct and host the Fellowship.

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 have the opportunity to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of nonprofit organizations.  The University of Connecticut and the University of Texas-Austin will conduct and host the Fellowship.

III. Other Essential Program Information:

Program Funding: Through cooperative agreements to the host universities, the U.S. Department of State will cover all participant costs, including: international travel costs; technology allowances for the virtual program; travel allowances; program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.

Program Model: The virtual program will consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming and will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, assignments, and individual and group activities.  Fellows are required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their home country.  Fellows must complete the virtual program in order to continue to the in-person program in the United States.  However, if a Fellow cannot continue onto the in-person U.S. component of the program, they will still receive U.S. Government alumni status and be eligible for all U.S. Government alumni benefits after completion of the virtual program.

Technology Requirements: In order to participate in the initial virtual program component in their home country, Fellows must have access to a computer and a stable internet connection.  If a Fellow does not have a computer or adequate internet the Academic Fellowship cooperative partners will work with the Fellow to facilitate computer access on an as-needed basis.  For the in-person component of the program, the host institutions will provide Fellows with access to a computer and internet.

Participation: Participants will be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.

Housing and Meal Arrangements for the In-Person Component: Participants must successfully complete the entire virtual program in order to participate in the in-person program component in the United States.  Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive, rigorous, academic program and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program.  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. Host institutions will take care to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  It is important that candidates are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.

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.  COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE policy.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.

Program Policy:  Under no circumstances are Fellows allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the in-person exchange program or remain in the United States after its end date.  Similarly, Fellows will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the United States.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the U.S. Department of State 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.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.

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 Laos.  Applications are encouraged from underserved groups including indigenous groups, ethnic minority communities, and candidates with disabilities.

Candidates nominated for this program must be:

  • Be a YSEALI member. Register for free at http://yseali.state.gov
  • 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 and a resident of Laos;
  • 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;

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 ASEAN 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 ASEAN region; and
  • Preferably have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States.

Program Timeline

10 November 2021: Application Deadline

20 November 2021: Shortlist candidates will be notified for the interview appointment.

Late November 2021: Interview Period

Late December 2021: 7 finalists will be informed of their selections.

March through May 2022

Virtual Component of the Spring 2022 YSEALI Academic Fellowship

Fall 2022 or Spring 2023

In-Person Component of the Spring 2022 YSEALI Academic Fellowship

(Contingent upon health, safety, and travel conditions)