Omaha – A United States State Department grant will once again bring 21 students from Southeast Asia to study at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), explore American culture, engage in the community, and visit both the East and West Coasts.
International Programs has welcomed its fourth cohort of academic fellows to the five-week Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Institute on Civic Engagement at UNO. The YSEALI participants arrived to Omaha on September 9th, the first visit to the United States for most of the young leaders.
The YSEALI program is also welcoming a new Academic Director to the program, Dr. Jodi Benenson, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration.
“We have an exciting civic leadership program planned for our students,” stated Dr. Benenson. “The academic curriculum will equip our YSEALI scholars with the tools needed to address the pressing civic, social, and political challenges facing our communities today.”
The YSEALI Academic Fellows have proven from a young age that they are committed and dedicating their lives to betterment of their communities...we learn as much from them as they do from us.
- Dr. Patrick McNamara
The group represents all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The mission of the intensive, short-term academic program is to provide participants with civic engagement, leadership and collaboration skills; cultivate an understanding of American culture, values, and institutions; establish ties with institutions throughout Southeast Asia; and foster relations between the U.S. and Southeast Asian nations.
“These young leaders have been identified as the up and coming leaders of their countries," said Patrick McNamara, Ph.D., principal administrator for the three-year YSEALI grant. "The YSEALI Academic Fellows have proven from a young age that they are committed and dedicating their lives to betterment of their communities, regions, and countries through areas of education, civic engagement, volunteerism, youth development, public health, and many more. We learn as much from them as they do from us.”
In addition to studying at UNO, students will visit Kansas City, Missouri, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. over the five weeks.
Launched in 2013, YSEALI is a signature State Department program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: civic engagement; environment and natural resources management; and entrepreneurship and economic development.
Follow YSEALI at UNO on Facebook to learn more about YSEALI and the current Academic Fellows.