YSEALI PFP is a two-way U.S. Department of State exchange program designed to strengthen people-to-people ties between young leaders from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and the United States.

Through activities and intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise and enhance their leadership capabilities, YSEALI PFP provides emerging Southeast Asian leaders with the opportunity to gain first-hand experiences in, and exposure to, U.S. public and private sector offices working on a variety of issues related to civic engagement, economic empowerment, governance and society, sustainable development and the environment.

USD hosted three fellows as a part of the civic engagement theme, which is managed by the University of Montana's Mansfield Center. USD provided professional placements and housing accommodations in the Vermillion community. USD also provided a cultural excursion to the Black Hills during the Fourth of July weekend and a kayak trip down the Missouri River.

"The excursions and time spent with their hosts allowed the fellows to develop connections and relationships with the Vermillion community and ideas to bring back to their respective workplaces and communities," Susan Hackemer, director of USD's career services, said.

The fellows included Fhiliya Himasari from Indonesia hosted by Meghann Jarchow, Ph.D., department chair of sustainability and environmental studies, Monica Aclan from the  Philippines hosted by Kelsey Collier-Wise, executive director of United Way, and Jim Roberto Nemeno hosted by Ionela Georgescu, executive director at Sesdac, Inc.

“It is an honor for USD to have had the good fortune to be selected as a host for the YSEALI Professional Fellow Program,” Hackemer said. “It is such a dynamic and uplifting opportunity to connect Vermillion's nonprofit community leaders with professionals doing similar work in vastly different environments. We anticipate the chance to host another cohort next spring, and that group will potentially get paired with different local partners. It is such a unique and positive way for the community and the university to collaborate. We could not have asked for a better group of fellows, and I look forward to seeing what grows out of these relationships.”  

This year's hosts applied for the reciprocal program where they will travel to Southeast Asia for a two-week exchange this winter. They will stay with their respective fellow to learn in their work environment.

About the Fellows 

Fhiliya Himasari

  • Host: Meghann Jarchow, Ph.D., department chair of sustainability and environmental studies
  • Organizational Strengthening & Gender Justice Manager
  • WALHI North Sumatra
  • Medan, Indonesia
Himasari works at the largest non-governmental organization in Indonesia, where she is responsible for developing the capacity of staff and community, building relationships, and networking with government and other NGOs. She has demonstrated experience in advocacy work and conflict resolution through policy intervention. She received a bachelor’s degree in marine sciences from University of Syiah Kuala. She seeks a fellowship with a government office focused on activism, particularly environmental advocacy. Himasari wishes to increase her knowledge of theories, advocacy strategies and political approaches to environmental issues. 

“During the fellowship, I learned a lot about how people work passionately and sincerely doing egalitarian things," Himasari said. "People here also respect each other and know that making a mistake is common because that's part of the learning process. Furthermore, I like how people organize everything and respect time because those are so useful for my professional development. It is an honor being here because I feel like all my experiences can be adopted to advance my organization.”  

Monica Aclan

  • Host: Kelsey Collier-Wise, United Way
  • Deputy Executive Director 
  • Project PEARLS, Inc. 
  • Manila, Philippines
Aclan aims to uplift the lives of children and families in poor communities on education, health care, nutrition and empowerment. Project PEARLS provides scholarships to marginalized youth. She earned her master’s degree in international studies and a bachelor’s degree in hotel, restaurant and institution management from the University of the Philippines. She has previously traveled to the U.S. to attend a Nonprofit Storytelling Conference and the Hive Global Leaders Program. She wishes to learn more about sustainable NGO management, effective outreach and advocacy programs to expand her organization’s reach to empower youth to become active citizens in their communities. Aclan seeks a fellowship focused on youth and civic engagement strategies in education. 

“As a professional fellow at the United Way of Vermillion, I learned a lot in terms of networking, fundraising strategies, maximizing resources to serve a wide range of people, leveraging volunteers and building a community of dreamers and doers who wholeheartedly serve the people," Aclan said. "I am grateful to have witnessed such acts of volunteerism and kindness at the Community Connection Center. I am thankful to Kelsey Collier-Wise for being so generous in introducing me to different organizations and individuals. From these meetings, I was able to learn about their different advocacies and their strategies for executing them.”  

Jaime “Jim” Roberto Nemeno

  • Host: Ionela Georgescu, executive director at Sesdac, Inc.
  • Project Inclusion Network Inc. 
  • Mandaluyong City, Philippines 
Roberto Nemeno leads a team of 13 employees and advisers to implement programs that empower over 3,000 people with disabilities by helping them with job readiness and vocational training. His nonprofit organization raises awareness of the capabilities of people with disabilities and promotes inclusion. He earned a bachelor's degree in management from Ateneo de Manila University. He hopes to gain insight from organizations that have built hybrid nonprofit-social enterprise models that balance financial viability and the social impact of the work to accomplish his goal of growing and sustaining the Project Inclusion Network. Nemeno seeks a fellowship that focuses on economic empowerment and community participation of marginalized and underrepresented communities.  

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