Coaching and Panel Discussion on YSEALI Academic Fellowship Fall 2023 and other U.S. Opportunities for Faculty, Staff, and Students

#MSUMag | The Mindanao State University-Maguindanao through its International Affairs Office with the help of the faculty alumni of the United States Government Alumni Association in Maguindanao and Cotabato conducted an Info-Session on U.S. Learning Opportunities, Coaching activities for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowship Fall 2023, cum Panel Discussion on Advocacy Building and Sending Best Application Entries on April 14, 2023, at the Audio-Visual Room, MSU-Maguindanao Campus.

The activity aims to encourage greater participation among MSU-Maguindanao students, faculty members, and staff in international opportunities. Opportunities like YSEALI are designed to equip participants with global skills, broaden their life perspectives, and enable them to contribute meaningfully to programs in the Bangsamoro region upon their return.

In her opening remarks, VCPD Dr. Naraga highlighted that engagement in international opportunities goes beyond personal growth and allows participants to explore and appreciate various cultural, social, and political phenomena. She emphasized the importance of bringing back the knowledge and skills gained from these opportunities to contribute to civic advocacies and actions for change and development in their communities.

Mr. Solayman Maso, a member of the USGAA in Maguindanao-Cotabato Chapter and an alumus of the Kenedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, presented the relevant US opportunities and shared funded scholarship programs that provide high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations, including the Philippines, the opportunity to study in the United States for one academic year. Participants live with American host families, attend high school, engage in cultural activities, and promote mutual understanding between their home countries and the US.

In turn, Prof. Grant Warren D. Lu, who recently completed his Academic Fellowship in March 2023, shared about the background of YSEALI, which is a fully-funded exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as young professionals from Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines. The program aims to strengthen leadership skills, promote civic engagement, and foster a sense of community among young leaders in the region. Prof. Lu also mentioned that the program includes a five-week program in the United States, including academic coursework, field visits, and professional networking opportunities, as well as a week-long workshop in Washington, D.C., where participants can interact with policymakers and representatives from international organizations.

After the presentation, there was a Panel Discussion on Building Strong Advocacies and Winning Application Processes. Panelists, including Dr. Ramjie Y. Odin, Dr. Almira Menson-Makalingkang, Prof. Grant Warren D. Lu, Prof. Bai Putri Morayah Amil, and Ms. Bai Allessah Mayasa, who are all alumni of various U.S. universities and programs, shared insights and experiences on how they built their confidence through exposure and how they effectively advocated for causes and created compelling application documents for international opportunities like the YSEALI Academic Fellowship. They also shared advice on the application process and shared stories of overcoming rejection in their journey.

The event looks forward to seeing names of faculty and students in the roster of accepted applicants to global learning competitions and opportunities.