Fully Funded Professional Fellows Program by US Government
Professional Fellows Program for Governance and Society, South and Central Asia. Funded by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by World Learning, the Professional Fellows Program for Governance and Society, South and Central Asia will promote mutual understanding and establish networks among mid-level professionals in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States, while also promoting increased knowledge of the legislative process and principles of good governance.
Through this two-way exchange for emerging leaders from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States, participants will exchange ideas, strategies, and best practices in legislative processes and policymaking, while also improving leadership skills and developing sustainable and enduring linkages with professional counterparts. Through professional fellowships, where participants will be matched with a U.S. organization or government office, participants will have the opportunity to increase their understanding of the U.S. legislative process while engaging in civic life through enrichment activities, such as meetings with key stakeholders, dialogues, and site visits. The following are themes and topics related to legislation and governance that may be included in the program: good governance (e.g. transparency and anti-corruption); legislative processes; the role of women, minorities, and marginalized populations in civil society and the political process; decentralization; youth engagement; development and strengthening of NGOs and civil society; post-conflict transitions; and non-violent civic participation. Through the program participants will:
• Gain an understanding of the U.S. legislative and political process
• Explore governance principles and practices in both public and civil society institutions in the U.S.
• Enhance their appreciation for the role of civil society in the political process
• Gain a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture, and people
• Gain a deeper understanding of the societies, cultures, and people of each other’s countries
• Develop and implement projects in their home country that promote good governance, strengthen civil society, and/or support democratic institutions
• Create and maintain linkages and networks between Americans and other Professional Fellows
• Increase cooperation between the government and civil society of India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka
To promote program sustainability and create a multiplier effect, participants will create and implement follow-on projects in their home communities. Individual Project Plans for the follow-on projects will be developed throughout the course of the U.S. program.
This application corresponds to recruitment for the fall 2022 & spring 2023 U.S.-based exchanges. Applicants may indicate their preference (fall 2022, spring 2023, or that they are available for either) on the application form. The fall 2022 U.S. program for participants from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will take place from September to early November 2022 and the spring 2023 U.S. program will tentatively take place from March to April 2023. The program will include an orientation that focuses on the structure of the U.S. government, the legislative process, and the role of civil society, a fellowship and/or mentorship matching component with a U.S. host organization, seminars and observational site visits, homestays with local families, and volunteerism. Participants then return to Washington, DC for the concluding Professional Fellows Congress, which includes workshops, dialogues, meetings with U.S. Government officials, and a program debrief. Following the U.S. program, American Fellows will travel to India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to participate in workshops, consultations, and provide support to follow-on projects in the winter of 2022 and early 2023 (tentative dates).
A small stipend will be provided during the participants’ time in the United States to cover basic living expenses and accommodations will be arranged by World Learning. The cost of international and domestic travel, program-related ground transportation, cultural activities, and all the other programmatic and logistical arrangements will be covered.
Participants will be required to apply for a J-1 visa for work and study-based exchange programs. The visa process will be conducted by local U.S. Embassies and Consulates in conjunction with local partners and World Learning. The visa will cover the program travel dates only. In accordance with this visa’s two-year residency requirement (212(e)) participants are required to return to their home country for at least two years at the end of your exchange visitor program.
Please note, as of November 8, 2021, all foreign visitors to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination prior to boarding their flight, unless any of the rare exceptions apply. Participants will also be required to obtain necessary COVID-19 related testing prior to travel.
Candidates from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will be professionals (ages 25-40) involved in the legislative process; governance; public administration; policy-making; political campaigns/political parties; the legal field; journalism; non-governmental organizations; innovation and technology; or empowering women, children, minorities, persons with disabilities, and marginalized populations. We seek candidates with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, proven leadership abilities, the ability to work in a cross-cultural setting, and a commitment to the program and follow-on activities. Those selected will come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, organizations, and political orientations. We also aim for gender balance. Written and oral English proficiency is required as the participants will need to converse about complex political and global issues with U.S. peers and experts. To select the best candidates, we will review applications based on clearly defined criteria, including:
• Openness to dialogue and new ideas;
• Strong potential to play an increasingly important role in society;
• Proven commitment to nonviolence;
• Interest in participating in the program and sharing the experience with colleagues and the public; and
• Commitment to the implementation of a follow-on project.
Preference will be given to applicants with relevant professional achievements who have not previously visited the United States. All candidates should be able and willing to host American counterparts, for up to a week, and design, arrange, and coordinate, under World Learning and its partners’ supervision, a local professional and cultural program for the American participants.
Please find the application form below. The application must be completed in English. The deadline for submitting the application is April 10, 2022. Please note that due to the volume of applications, we will only contact semi-finalists following the closing of the application. No phone calls or emails please.