Call for Applications Fall 2019 YSEALI Academic Fellowship

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok is pleased to open the call for applications for the Fall 2019 YSEALI Academic Fellowship to candidates from Thailand interested in the themes of Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management, and Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. There will be two Institutes on each theme with each Institute composed of up to 22 fellows. A total of six programs will take place starting from late August to late October, and will be hosted at six separate universities. A total of 15 applicants from Thailand will be selected to participate in the Fall 2019 program.

Please complete the online application before 6 PM on Sunday, May 12, 2019.

For questions, please see “Frequently Asked Questions” below. If your question is not addressed there, please write


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 ASEAN, and link emerging ASEAN leaders to the United States. 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 U.S. Government implements the YSEALI Academic Fellowship aimed at young leaders ages 18-25. In fall 2019 and spring 2020, 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 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.

Program Description:

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 Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. No matter the theme, 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.

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 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. Pending the final grants approval process, the University of Nebraska – Omaha and Kennesaw State University will each host one fellowship on Civic Engagement. Fellowships will be hosted by from September 21 to October 26, 2019.

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. Pending the final grants approval process, the University of Montana and the East-West Center will each host one Fellowship on Environmental Issues and Natural Resource Management from August 21 to September 25, 2019.

The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on 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 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. Pending the final grants approval process, the University of Connecticut and Brown University will each host on Fellowship on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Fellowship from September 7 to October 11, 2019.

Other Essential Program Information:

  • Program Funding: Through cooperative agreements to the host universities, ECA 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. It is important that candidates are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.
  • Host institutions will take care 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
  • 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. Candidates should be made aware that the Institutes are very intensive and that 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. It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.
  • English Language Ability: All candidates must 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.

Candidate Description and 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.

Candidates nominated for this program 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 Thailand;
  • A resident of Thailand;
  • 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.

Selection criteria; successful applicants should:

  • Demonstrate interest, knowledge, or professional experience in Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues, 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 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ section addresses some commonly asked questions by applicants.

  1. What degree of English proficiency should an applicant 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. An applicant has been to the U.S. before; would he/she be disqualified? No. Applicants with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program. However, priority will be given to nominees with no previous experience in the United States.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.


  • May 12  Application deadline
  • Early June  Interview
    (Only shortlist candidates will be notified for the interview appointment.)
  • Late July                                     15 Finalists will be informed by phone.
    Public announcement will be posted at U.S. Embassy website and
  • Early August                                    Pre-Departure Orientation at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok
  • August – October                   Fall 2019 YSEALI Academic Fellowship starts