UConn and Brown to Partner on State Department Academic Fellowship


YSEALI-logo-transparentSTORRS, September 5, 2018In 2013 the U.S. Department of State launched the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) aimed at strengthening leadership development in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural Fellowship exchanges, Southeast Asian regional exchanges, and seed grant funding, the objective for YSEALI is to strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia. Following successful implementation of the YSEALI Academic Fellowship from 2015-2017, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has selected UConn for a new cooperative agreement to implement a portion of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowship during 2018-2019, with a provision for two additional non-compete continuation years.

The new program, developed by UConn’s Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI), located within the Office of Global Affairs, utilizes a mix of workshops, group exercises, site visits throughout the Northeast region of the United States, cultural activities, and virtual learning to enhance participant understanding and leadership abilities. The program also includes a small grant competition process that will allow the YSEALI Fellows to develop and implement pilot social change projects in their local communities throughout Southeast Asia. To date, UConn’s YSEALI program has supported over 70 such projects. This year, in response to the ECA’s call for proposals to accommodate the next three years of the Initiative, GTDI has partnered with Brown University’s Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service. Brown has agreed to host 22 YSEALI Fellows each semester in a sister program that will run simultaneously.

"The Swearer Center is excited to partner with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and UConn on the YSEALI program," Mathew Johnson, Executive Director of the Swearer Center and Brown University Associate Dean for Engaged Scholarship, said. "We look forward to growing Brown University's international partnerships and sharing our approach to community engagement and social innovation with the YSEALI Fellows over the course of the next academic year."

Each semester, 44 college students and young professionals from 10 Southeast Asian countries will participate in an intensive academic transformative learning experience — starting in either Storrs, Connecticut or Providence, Rhode Island, and ending in their home countries with social entrepreneurship projects — to deepen their knowledge about the U.S. and acquire practical skills in the areas of social entrepreneurship and economic development.

“I am delighted that the State Department has renewed its commitment to the YSEALI program and views UConn as a valuable partner in the field of social entrepreneurship and global development,” said Daniel Weiner, Ph.D., Vice President for Global Affairs at UConn. “I am also excited about the opportunities for collaboration with Brown University. The YSEALI Fellows have been truly inspiring to the UConn community and I have no doubt they will bring the same vibrancy to Brown. I am eager to see how this cohort will put the knowledge and skills learned on our campuses to work for the betterment of their communities back home.”

The cooperative agreement provides for a base year and two non-compete continuation years, contingent on the availability of funding and successful performance, for an estimated total of $3.9 million ($1.3 million per year for three years).

For more information on the YSEALI program, please contact:

Roy Pietro, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator/Project Director)
Director, Global Training & Development Institute
Office of Global Affairs
University of Connecticut
Phone: 860-486-4252
E-mail: roy.pietro@uconn.edu.

For specific information on the YSEALI program at Brown University, please contact the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service at 401-863-2338 or swearer_center@brown.edu

For more information about YSEALI, visit: https://asean.usmission.gov/yseali and for more information on ECA programs, visit http://exchanges.state.gov, or contact eca-press@state.gov.

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