Omaha – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is pleased to welcome its tenth Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Institute on Civic Engagement. UNO and its partner for this fall 2021 program, Kennesaw State University (KSU), have designed a collaborative virtual academic program for 42 YSEALI fellows to study civic engagement and leadership development. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
“Since 2015, UNO has been privileged to run this amazing YSEALI program,” said Patrick McNamara, Principal Director for the YSEALI Institute on Civic Engagment. “This plays to the strengths of UNO, a national leader in community engagement and service learning, and highlights the international connections of Nebraska. The YSEALI Fellows get so much out of our academic programming and they love visiting Omaha, meeting the people and experiencing our Midwest hospitality. But I think we learn as much from them as they learn from us. I can’t wait for the situation with COVID to allow for international exchanges again, but for now we are delighted to meet this new batch of YSEALI Fellows virtually."
In addition to their virtual academic program which starts on Monday, September 20, the YSEALI fellows will conduct an in-person exchange in 2022. The fellows will have the opportunity to visit their host institution, collaborate with local nonprofits, engage in community services activities, meet with local and state government officials, and share their culture through presentations and discussions.
The YSEALI Fellows represents ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Timor-Leste.
“We have an exciting virtual program planned for our academic fellows,” said Dr. Jodi Benenson, Academic Director of the YSEALI Institute. “The academic curriculum will equip our YSEALI scholars with the tools needed to address the pressing civic, social, and political challenges facing their communities today.”
The purpose of this intensive, virtual five-week program is to provide fellows with civic engagement, leadership development and collective problem-solving skills; awareness of the influence of principles and values such as democracy, individual rights, freedom of expression, and diversity; strengthen networking in Southeast Asia; and foster relations between the United States and Southeast Asian nations. The fellows will utilize the skills they’ve gained in the program to develop action plans to implement in their home countries.