Group Photo of YSEALI Fellows at an Environmental Summit in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Are you a part of a community passionate about sustainability, conservation, climate change, or environmental education? Do you like to mentor emerging leaders? If so, this opportunity is for you!

ICMA is partnering with the YSEALI Professional Fellows Program, which is a professional development exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State that provides selected participants from Southeast Asia aged 25-35 with an opportunity to spend 5.5 weeks in the United States. ICMA has led YSEALI programs for 10 years and hundreds of ICMA members have enjoyed hosting fellows.

The fellowship includes 4 weeks working directly with American counterparts in individually tailored placements with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private-sector offices across the country. As a potential host community, you have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in shaping the professional growth and development of a YSEALI Fellow. By offering them hands-on experience in your organization, you provide them with invaluable insights into U.S. policy making and governance.  

Hosting a YSEALI Professional Fellow is a rewarding experience that requires no financial commitment from your community. All transportation, lodging, meals, and incidentals for the fellows are arranged by and paid for by ICMA. ICMA is looking for a total of 52 hosts in 2024, 26 for each of two cohorts:

Cycle 1: April 29 to May 24, 2024

Cycle 2: September 16 to October 11, 2024

About Our Fellows

YSEALI Professional Fellows are mid-career professionals who have 3-5 years of professional experience in a field related to sustainability. They possess expertise ranging from environmental education, solid waste, climate change to oceanography. Fellows have university degrees and most have advanced degrees, with a working proficiency in English. YSEALI Fellows are from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

YSEALI Fellows on an Educational Tour
2023 YSEALI Fellows meeting with Loudoun County, Virginia, employees to learn about wetlands rehabilitation.


The fellowship placement is intended to provide fellows with direct experience with the day-to-day workings of a U.S. organization/local government and the opportunity to network and form professional relationships with American colleagues. Fellows are expected to work 32-40 hours per week during the four-week program. Past fellows have been placed with not only ICMA members but also companies, start-ups, grassroots NGOs, and other dynamic organizations within the sustainability sector.

Engaging in Reciprocal Exchanges

The benefits of hosting a YSEALI Professional Fellow extend beyond the initial placement period. U.S. placement hosts will be eligible to apply for a U.S. Department of State-funded Reciprocal Exchange where they will travel to their YSEALI Fellow's home country and support the design and implementation of a local project. It is not a complete one to one opportunity for reciprocal exchange; approximately one third of all proposals reviewed are accepted.

How to Get Involved

If you're interested in becoming a host community or have questions, contact Laura Hagg ( or Alaina Mendoza ( For more information, visit the program's website. April 5 is the Cycle 1 placement deadline for host communities, so don't delay in reaching out!

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New, Reduced Membership Dues

A new, reduced dues rate is available for CAOs/ACAOs, along with additional discounts for those in smaller communities, has been implemented. Learn more and be sure to join or renew today!