YSEALI Professional Fellow

Eligible Indonesian YSEALI members can apply
for the
2022 YSEALI Professional Fellow online from June 1st 2023, until August 1st  2023!

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP) is a two-way exchange program designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build lasting and sustainable partnerships between emerging leaders in Southeast Asia and the United States. YSEALI PFP provides emerging leaders with the opportunity to gain first-hand experiences in, and exposure to, U.S. public and private sector offices working on a variety of issues related to the four themes of civic engagement, economic empowerment, governance and society, and sustainable development and the environment. YSEALI PFP is open to professionals aged 25-35 from any of the eleven YSEALI countries.

YSEALI PFP will be administered as a hybrid program, which includes virtual activities and a tentative in-person U.S.-based exchange. Applicants must have reliable internet connectivity to participate in the virtual activities.

Applicants may participate in one of the two program cycles:

  • Cycle 1:

Virtual activities will launch in February 2024, with approximately one live session per month throughout the duration of the program. Some professional asynchronous activities may accompany each live session. The U.S.-based exchange is tentatively scheduled from April 22 – May 31, 2024 (pending travel restrictions).

  • Cycle 2:

Virtual activities will launch in June 2024, with approximately one live session per month throughout the duration of the program. Some professional asynchronous activities may accompany each live session. The U.S.-based exchange is tentatively scheduled from September 9 – October 18, 2024 (pending travel restrictions).

Each selected YSEALI Fellow will:

  • Partake in virtual leadership and professional development activities throughout the program.
  • Be matched with a four-week, full-time fellowship placement host in a U.S. organization focused on issues relating to the Fellow’s work at home.
  • Gain first-hand knowledge about US institutions and build relationships with American counterparts.
  • Receive comprehensive on-program support. Travel and living arrangements will be covered as well as emergency health benefit on program.
  • Become part of a prestigious alumni network with access to valuable resources and an international network of like-minded professionals.

To apply, you must:

  • be a YSEALI members from all 10 ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste who are leading change and innovation in civil society, the public sector, or the private sector. Joining YSEALI is free! Sign up [yseali.state.gov]here
  • be a citizen and resident of one of the eleven YSEALI nations: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. Applicants living outside of the eleven eligible countries or on a long-term program will not be considered eligible to apply.
  • Be an emerging leader in government, civil society, or the private sector who has demonstrated expertise pertaining to the respective theme under which he/she is applying.
  • Be currently employed with at least two years of relevant professional experience at the time of application.
  • Be between 25 and 35 years old at the start of the program (born on/after March 1, 1987 and no later than March 1, 1998).
  • Be self-directed and able to work effectively in a cross-cultural setting.
  • Be able to identify an objective/project of their own selection that the applicant would like to implement in their home workplace or community.
  • Have demonstrated proficiency in both written and oral English.
  • Have demonstrated leadership and collaborative skills.

YSEALI PFP is administered under four Institute Themes: Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment, Governance and Society, and Sustainable Development and the Environment. Applicants will be instructed to rank themes in order of preference on their application as well as their preferred program cycle. Applications may be assigned to a different theme or cycle if deemed necessary and appropriate.

  • Civic Engagement

The Civic Engagement Institutes will support professionals involved in non-governmental management; community development; advocacy; education and capacity building; media and journalism; law; health equity; youth initiatives and programs; and civic activism for marginalized populations.

Topics related to these Institutes might include NGO management; staff training and development; volunteer management; conducting effective community outreach and public relations; creating strategic partnerships and coalition building; conflict resolution and tolerance; social justice; and education and advocacy programs.

  • Economic Empowerment

The Economic Empowerment Institutes will support professionals involved in small and medium-sized business development; business administration; business education; economic development policy; social entrepreneurship; and community training programs.

Topics related to these Institutes might include entrepreneurship; community-based training programs; global competency and employment readiness; the role of government in promoting economic growth; sustainable economic development; and the economic empowerment of women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, and marginalized populations.

  • Governance and Society

The Governance and Society Institutes will support professionals involved in: the legislative process; governance at the local or national level; public administration and management; policy making; fiscal management; political campaigns and initiatives; health and human services; public-private partnerships; public safety; transportation and urban planning; and law and judicial reform.

Topics related to these Institutes might include rule of law; access to justice; civil liberties; fiscal management; anti-corruption; outreach and representation; and transparency and accountability.

  • Sustainable Development and the Environment

The Sustainable Development and the Environment Institutes will support professionals involved in food and water security; public health; ecotourism; the innovative development and management of agricultural and food systems, energy, housing, and transportation resources; natural disaster response; natural resource conservation and restoration; and waste management.

Topics related to these Institutes might include grassroots activism; environmental policy and regulations; research and sustainable development; planning and forecasting; sustainable systems; corporate social responsibility; and market-oriented initiatives.

Visit www.ysealipfp.org to learn more and apply!

Applications are open until August 1st , 2023. 

Please note: Only shortlisted candidates will be notified to schedule an interview.

Questions? E-mail at ysealipfp@americancouncils.org

What is the YSEALI Professional Fellows Program? 

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP) is a professional development exchange program for the best and brightest community leaders from Southeast Asia, working in the fields of civic engagement, NGO management, economic empowerment, governance, legislative process, environmental and natural resources management. The YSEALI PFP provides participants a month-long fellowship at U.S.-based companies, non-profit organizations, institutions, and government offices. Fellows will work with community leaders to enhance their practical expertise, leadership skills, and professional contacts to address issues in their home communities.

How is COVID-19 impacting YSEALI PFP? 

In response to the ongoing global pandemic, YSEALI PFP will be offered as a hybrid program with virtual activities leading up to a U.S.-based exchange. Please note, the in-person, U.S.-based Institute is contingent upon favorable travel conditions. In the event there are travel restrictions, or other factors which could adversely impact the health, safety and welfare of program participants and hosts, YSEALI PFP will pivot the in-person, U.S.-based exchange to virtual programming.

Do I need to pay for the program? What are the costs? 

If selected as a finalist, the U.S. Department of State will cover costs associated with your international travel, visa, and living costs in the U.S. There are no required costs to Fellows.

How do I apply? 

Apply online at www.ysealipfp.org.

How are Fellows selected? 

Fellows are selected through a competitive nationwide search that involves a merit-based selection process. This includes an extensive written application and in-person interview. The selection of finalists is determined in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State.

Can I apply to more than one Institute theme?

Applicants will be instructed to rank the themes in order of preference but will ultimately be assigned to one theme. Applications are subject to transfer to different themes, should it be deemed appropriate. For more information on the four Institute themes, visit www.ysealipfp.org.




What type of U.S. visa do I need and how will I get it?Fellows will be required to obtain a J-1 (Exchange Visitor) visa from the consular section at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country in order to be eligible to participate in YSEALI PFP. American Councils will assist Fellows with the visa application process, but holds no sway over visa granting decisions made by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. All visa fees will be covered through the program as well as travel costs to attend the visa interview. Failure to obtain a J-1 visa will result in termination from the program. Recipients of a J-1 visa are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement after the exchange program, meaning they must return to their home country for at least two years following participation in YSEALI PFP, although limited exceptions may apply.


Where will I live? 

YSEALI Fellows are housed in U.S. host families, university housing, extended stay hotels, or some combination of these options. At minimum, all Fellows will be provided a home hospitality experience such as dinner with an American family, a cultural excursion, short-term homestay, or other relevant activity to encourage cultural exchange.


How will my fellowship placement be assigned? 

Fellows will be placed in a non-profit, public, or private sector organization in the United States for the duration of the fellowship placement using information provided in your application, interview, and other materials.


What will I do at my fellowship placement? 

While at your U.S. fellowship placement, you will engage in a wide range of activities which may include shadowing important meetings, conducting research, presenting on relevant topics, participating in office events, joining projects, and many other activities. YSEALI PFP is a Fellow-driven experience. Fellows who are most successful set goals and objectives for the program in advance of their arrival and proactively share them with their U.S. placement host, along with information about their background and experiences at home.

I just submitted an application. What happens next?

All applicants should receive an automated confirmation email upon submission of the application. The application review process can take up to six weeks. The YSEALI PFP team will contact all applicants regarding their status by email, so please keep an eye on your email in the weeks following the application deadline.


What happens after the program? 

Upon completion of the program, Fellows are considered YSEALI PFP alumni and are eligible for further alumni programming and opportunities through the alumni network. The post-U.S. components are as important to the YSEALI PFP as the U.S.-based components. This includes implementation of follow-on Action Plans to address challenges encountered in Fellows’ home communities. Select Fellows may receive funding to implement their Action Plan or invite a U.S. placement host from their fellowship placement to implement a Reciprocal Exchange Project in the Fellow’s country. Additionally, YSEALI PFP alumni will be eligible to participate in Regional Alumni Accelerator Workshops.