Preparing the next generation of leaders

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP) is a fully-funded exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. YSEALI PFP provides emerging leaders from Southeast Asia the opportunity to spend five to six weeks in the United States gaining professionally relevant fellowship experiences at non-profit, public, or private sector organizations. The program is designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance Fellows’ leadership and professional skills, and build lasting and sustainable partnerships between emerging leaders in Southeast Asia and the United States. YSEALI PFP is administered under four Institute themes: Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment, Governance and Society, and Sustainable Development and the Environment.

YSEALI PFP is open to professionals age 25-35 from any of the eleven YSEALI countries. Click here to learn more about the eligibility requirements.


The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Professional Fellows Program (YSEALI PFP) is a two-way U.S. Department of State exchange program designed to strengthen people-to-people ties between young leaders from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam, and the United States. Through virtual activities and intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise and enhance their leadership capabilities, YSEALI PFP provides emerging Southeast Asian 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 civic engagement, economic empowerment, governance and society, and sustainable development and the environment. Follow-on reciprocal exchanges provide select American professionals the opportunity to visit Southeast Asia to further enhance two-way exchange, support, and knowledge sharing with YSEALI PFP alumni in their home communities.

YSEALI PFP is planned to be administered as a hybrid program, which will include virtual activities and an in-person U.S.-based Institute. Applicants must have reliable internet connectivity to participate in virtual activities. Applicants will select one of two possible program cycles in 2024.

Important: The in-person, U.S.-based Institute is contingent upon favorable travel conditions. In the event of travel restrictions, or others 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.



Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community.

Program Elements

Leadership and Professional Development Curriculum

  • The program will begin with a virtual program launch to provide an overview of the virtual activities

  • Fellows will participate in Leading Change, an online leadership course designed to strengthen competencies in community action, leadership, management, and media literacy

  • Fellows will participate in a personalized virtual Alumni Mentor Program to receive guidance before, during, and after the program and facilitate their immersion into the broader alumni network

  • Fellows will participate in a professional development session and one-on-one calls with American experts prior to the U.S.-based Institute

Professional Fellowship Institute

  • Fellows will participate in a virtual Pre-Departure Orientation as well as an arrival orientation and integrated professional study tour in a U.S. city

  • Fellows will spend four weeks in an individually tailored fellowship experience working in a U.S. placement host organization

  • Fellows will participate in a community service opportunity to engage with a U.S. community and participate in civic engagement

  • Fellows will develop a follow-on Action Plan proposal to complete a project that meets a specific objective and builds on their participation in the YSEALI Professional Fellows Program

  • Fellows will have a home hospitality experience with an American host family

YSEALI Fellows Forum (YFF)

  • At the conclusion of the YSEALI PFP Institutes, Fellows will participate in a program-wide conference called the YSEALI Fellows Forum (YFF)

  • The YFF will bring together Fellows from across all four Institute themes for the opportunity to network and collaborate

  • The YFF offers exposure to speakers and workshops designed to further Fellows’ professional competencies

Alumni Engagement Opportunities

  • Fellows will design follow-on Action Plans to address challenges encountered in their home community

  • Fellows will be eligible to invite a U.S. placement host from the fellowship placement to implement a Reciprocal Exchange Project in the Fellow’s home community

  • Fellows will be eligible to participate in Regional Alumni Accelerator Workshops

Program Dates

YSEALI PFP will be administered in two cycles in 2024. Applicants may only participate in one of the two program cycles. Applicants must indicate their preferred cycle (Cycle 1 or Cycle 2) in their application.

  • Cycle 1: Virtual activities for cycle 1 will tentatively 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 for cycle 2 will tentatively 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).


Starting Your Application

The YSEALI PFP application can be accessed online in the AIS Forms portal. This portal is where you will complete and submit your application and it will allow you to directly upload supplemental materials and request recommendations. Instructions on how to use the form, save your changes, and submit your application are provided within the application. It is not necessary to complete your application in one sitting. You will be able to save your work and log out from the portal. You can then log in at any time thereafter until the application deadline.

Selecting Your Institute Theme and Program Cycle

At the beginning of the application, you will be asked to rank the Institute themes in order of your preference. You will also be asked to indicate which of the two program cycles you would like to participate in. Dates of each cycle will be provided in the application.

Submitting Your Application

To submit your online application, you must press the “Submit” button on the last page. If you do not press the Submit button, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be considered for selection. You will not be allowed to make any changes to your application after you submit it. You will receive a confirmation email once your form has been submitted. All applications must be submitted by the application deadline.


For questions regarding your application, please contact Please submit questions early, as responses may be slightly delayed due to the time difference between the U.S. and Southeast Asia and the high volume of emails received in the days prior to the application deadline.

Application Requirements

As part of the online application, you must submit or complete the following materials to be considered for the program:

  • Confirmation of eligibility

  • Education history

  • Comprehensive work experience

  • Your resume or CV in English

  • Three essay questions to address your motivations for applying, how your participation will impact your community, and how you intend to use your experience to support a follow-on project in your home community. Exact prompts will be provided in the application.

  • Two professional references

  • A signed copy of the Participant Terms and Conditions Agreement

  • A signed copy of the American Councils Informed Consent Agreement


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