Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)

Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)


Since fall 2015, the University of Connecticut (UConn) has welcomed over 100 student leaders from Southeast Asia to work on social entrepreneurship and economic development!

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will be hosted by UConn each fall and spring semester – (four weeks on campus, one week study tour). Each institute comprises of 21 college student leaders from ten countries in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The educational and cultural exchange program is developed and delivered

YSEALI Spring 2017
YSEALI Spring 2017 participants enjoy snow at UConn.

by the University’s Global Training and Development Institute (GTDI). Numerous faculty members from throughout our institution will be participating in these five week programs, along with subject matter experts from institutions of higher education across New England. The GTDI is partnering with UPEACE on this program. UPEACE’s work in advancing social entrepreneurship is well known and highly regarded across the globe. This Institute is sponsored by the Study of the U.S. Branch in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Student Leader Institutes promote a better understanding of the U.S. abroad and help to develop future world leaders. These Institutes explore the principles of democracy and fundamental American values such as individual rights, freedom of expression, pluralism and tolerance, and volunteerism. Participants have the opportunity to meet their American peers, engage in local community service activities, and learn about the United States. The specific program objectives of this institute are to: 1) deepen participant understanding of the U.S.; 2) provide participants with an overview of how to use business techniques and entrepreneurial skills to address social issues; and 3) develop participants’ leadership and collective problem-solving skills, and inspire them to apply these skills.

YSEALI Fall 2017
YSEALI Fall 2017 visit the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

The curriculum will cover several fields of study including: Political Science, American Studies, History, Business, Leadership Development, International Studies, Environmental Studies, Women’s Studies, Global Citizenship, and Civil and Human Rights. Through a creative mix of workshops, group exercises, site visits, homestays, and cultural activities, participants will explore the defining events, time periods, and leaders in American history who addressed social issues and shaped the evolution of the U.S. Participants will develop a social entrepreneurship project idea and business plan during the program. The UConn based portion of the program will conclude with business plan presentations from each participant. The program will include project start-up funds (to be awarded on a competitive basis) and follow-up support for participants when they return home and launch their social entrepreneurship ventures.

The four week intensive residential program at UConn’s main campus in Storrs, CT, will be followed by a week-long trip to cultural sites of significance in New City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. The short-term anticipated result of the program is that participants will gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. and social entrepreneurship. In the long-term, we hope that they will stay in touch with new American friends and use these new relationships to build stronger international ties. In addition, we hope that participants will use new knowledge and skills to address social issues and transfer lessons learned to their home community.

For more information, contact: Global Training and Development Institute at 860-486-0235

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