Professional Fellows for Governance and Society, South and Central Asia

Countries: India, Nepal, Pakistan    |   Duration: September 2013 to December 2019    |   Funder: US Dept. of State - Bureau of Educational and Cult    |   Contact:  megan.zacher@worldlearning.org

Program Description

The Professional Fellows for Governance and Society, South and Central Asia program brings young professionals from India, Pakistan, and Nepal to the U.S. to exchange ideas, strategies, and best practices in legislative process and policymaking.

Professional Fellows for Governance and Society is administered by World Learning on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Through this two-way exchange for emerging leaders ages 25-40 from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and the United States, participants will exchange ideas and best practices, while also improving leadership skills and developing sustainable and enduring linkages with professional counterparts. Participants will be matched with a U.S. organization or government office for a professional fellowship in order to increase their understanding of the U.S. legislative process. They will also engage in civic life through enrichment activities such as meeting with key stakeholders, dialogues, and site visits and participate in the Professional Fellows Congress with other 200+ Fellows from 48 countries.

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.

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The application for the fall 2018 program is now closed. Information about programs in 2019 will be announced soon.

Program Goals

  • Promote mutual understanding
  • Establish networks among mid-level professionals in the U.S., India, Pakistan, and Nepal
  • Encourage increased knowledge of the legislative process and principles of good governance

The program includes the following components:

  • Participant selection and pre-departure orientation in India, Pakistan, or Nepal;
  • A one-month U.S. experiential program for participants from India, Pakistan, and Nepal that includes fellowships, interactive seminars, site visits, synthesis discussions, and designing follow-on projects (multiple cohorts)
  • In-country seminars and support of follow-on activities for participants from India, Pakistan, and Nepal, including workshops and consultations by American experts (multiple cohorts)
  • The U.S. program begins with an orientation in Washington, DC that focuses on the structure of the US government, the legislative process, and the role of civil society. Following is a four-week fellowship in several US cities, which includes professional fellowships, seminars, homestays, and civic engagement. Participants then return to Washington, DC for the concluding Professional Fellows’ Congress, which includes workshops, meetings with US government officials, and a program debrief.

 

Fall 2017 Professional Fellows Video Project

 

Spring 2017 Professional Fellows Video Project

 

It was a wonderful experience to visit the United States of America, to interact with policy makers at key levels, to understand aspects of legislative processes, to experience American hospitality, and to make new friends from the USA, Pakistan and India.

India Participant, Spring 2017

The exchange program is wonderfully designed and as per my experience I have never witnessed such a comprehensive program, designed in a way not only boost our passion but also teaches how to achieve targets.

Pakistan Participant, Spring 2017

 

FAQs:

  1. What is the program structure?
    The program will begin with an orientation in Washington, DC that focuses on the structure of the U.S. government, the legislative process, and the role of civil society. Next, participants will take part in a four-week fellowship in one of several U.S. cities, which includes professional assignments at local/state/federal government offices or NGOs, 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, and Nepal to participate in workshops, consultations, and provide support to follow-on projects.
  2. What logistical arrangements are provided by the program?
    Accommodations will include double-person hotel rooms and homestays with American families and peers. A small stipend will be provided during the participants’ time in the United States to cover basic living expenses. The cost of international and domestic travel, program-related ground transportation, cultural activities, and all the other programmatic and logistical arrangements will be covered.
  3. Does the program provide health insurance coverage for the participants?
    Health coverage is provided through the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE). ASPE is a self-funded, limited health care benefit plan designed to pay covered medical expenses for eligible exchange participants. Covered medical expenses are subject to limitation and pre-existing conditions are not covered. This plan is not an insurance policy. Therefore, if the participant should have any serious medical care, he/she should seek additional health insurance on their own behalf.
  4. What are the visa requirements for this program?
    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.
  5. Who is eligible to apply?
    Candidates from India, Pakistan, and Nepal will be professionals ages 25-40. 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. 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. 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.
  6. What professional experience is relevant to this program?
    Applicants should have experience in the legislative process and/or policymaking, including: good governance (transparency, anti-corruption, right-to-information), legislative and political processes, including the role of women, minorities, and marginalized populations in them, youth politics and student leaders, climate change and environment, and trade and regional connectivity. Such experience can have been attained through their work in government, civic education organizations, citizen advocacy groups, political campaigns, political parties, or election monitoring organizations.
  7. I’ve submitted my application, what’s next?
    Now that your application has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the selection committee. Please keep in mind that there is a large volume of highly qualified applications, so this process will take some time. Once the shortlisting process is complete, you will receive an email from World Learning detailing your application status.
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