YSEALI Civic Engagement Fellows Program

Applications for the Fall 2020 Program will are now closed. Stay tuned for application dates for the Spring 2021 program.

A 5-week, all-expenses professional and civic cultural engagement program in the US. The Fall 2020 trip will take place between October 13th to November 19th, 2020. 

YSEALI is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and hosted by the Mansfield Center of the University of Montana.

For more information, contact lathika@vertechcapital.com.

Vertech Capital & University of Montana

Vertech Capital, together with the University of Montana and the U.S. Embassy, is seeking Singaporean English-speaking professionals aged 25-35 for a five-week professional and cultural civic engagement program in the U.S. This exchange program is an all-expense paid program. The Fall 2020 cohort will take place from October 13th to November 19th, 2020.

The YSEALI Civic Engagement Fellows Program is designed to promote mutual understanding, enhance leadership and professional skills, and build sustainable partnerships between emerging leaders from Southeast Asia and the U.S.


During the five-week program in the United States, participants will gain firsthand knowledge of how organizations and institutions operate, while also participating in site visits and specially-designed seminars. An important part of the program is a fellowship.

Participants will be matched with a similar organization in the U.S. and work with an American counterpart for one month. Following a short group orientation, participants will spend one month in their fellowship and one week in Washington, D.C.

This program also provides the potential of an American expert traveling to your workplace to support your organization. Singapore participants may also be asked to host a U.S. participant at their place of work. That individual will be someone you have worked with during your U.S. program and determined to be of benefit to your mission.

A selected number of American fellowship partners will travel overseas to work with you and your counterparts on civic engagement issues in your country. Because 38 Southeast Asian Fellows will be selected, and only approximately 13 of their American partners will travel to Southeast Asia, not every Southeast Asian participant will host an American at their place of work.

However, you must state your willingness to host a U.S. participant on your application to be considered for this program.


1. Program Funding:  

The United States government will cover all participant costs, including international travel; travel and ground transportation in the U.S.; meals; lodging; and cultural allowances. 


If you will be asked to host U.S. participants at your place of work, the program for the Americans will be at no expense to you or your organization.  American participants will be provided all funds for hotels, meals and transportation.

2. Program Requirements and Restrictions:  

Participants are expected to participate fully in the program.  They are expected to attend all workshops and organized activities.  The program is very intensive and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. This is not a tourism program but an intensive professional experience.  However, please realize that this is a group experience.  Not every appointment will be specifically designed to your interests. Every appointment will contribute to overall understanding of civic engagement issues. This is an inter-disciplinary programs specifically designed to bring together people from different backgrounds and professions in a shared goal of enhancing civic engagement. 


Please note: this is not a program to fundraise. You will learn how to fundraise, but your goal should not be to raise money while in the U.S.

3. English Language Ability:  

All candidates must demonstrate English language capabilities. The program is rigorous and demanding.  Participants will be expected to handle reading materials in English and to be full and active participants in all seminar and panel discussions. 

4. Candidate Description and Qualifications:  

The participants are expected to be highly motivated professionals working in the field of civic engagement. All participants will have a good knowledge of English.  We welcome applicants from both rural and urban areas, both men and women, and those with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside your home country.  We welcome participants of all backgrounds.  We encourage those with disabilities to apply, as our program will accommodate such needs.

The recruitment period is February 1 – March 31, 2020.  Application review will be conducted by local partners in conjunction with the Mansfield Center of the University of Montana. A select number will be chosen for personal interviews January 3-25, 2020.  In addition to the primary participants, one to two alternate participants will be selected. Those applying for the first cohort (spring) will notified by February 28, 2020.

Selection Criteria


  • English-language capability to be successful in an English-language program for five weeks.

  • Clear understanding of civic engagement issues that affect your community.

  • Aged 25-35:  this program is for emerging leaders, not for students or high-level experts.

  • Plan to return to your organization following completion of the program.

  • Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in your work.

  • Completion of relevant education (preferred but not required).

  • Suitability of the applicant’s organization to benefit from this exchange and to host a U.S. participant.

  • Potential commitment to hosting a U.S. participant for 10-21 days.  This includes organizing a professional program, a cultural orientation, and working with the local partner and the Mansfield Center to organizing logistics such as lodging and transportation. (All activities are paid for by the program, not by you or your organization.)

  • The support of your supervisor and/or organization for both your participation as well as for hosting a U.S. Fellow.

  • A commitment to the time investment required to make the program a success.

  • A demonstrated interest in working in cross-cultural settings.

  • Demonstrated understanding of program objectives.

  • Communication of personal goals in line with program objectives.

  • Participants chosen from each country as a whole reflect the diversity of that country in terms of its populace, geography, and variety of interests/fields/organizations.

  • Demonstrated commitment to strengthening your community.

  • Little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States.

  • Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive program, Fellowship position, community service, and travel program in the U.S. for approximately 38 days.

  • Be able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those in your country.

  • Understand that this is not tourism or a luxury program. This is a busy professional program.


Applications for the Fall 2020 program will open on February 1st.

For more information or in case of any questions, contact lathika@vertechcapital.com.

Get in Touch

Level 17 & 18, Centennial Tower, 
3 Temasek Avenue, Singapore 039190