TWO SILLIMANIANS ARE set to join the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Fellows Programs in the United States of America.
Senior Mass Communication student, Val Amiel Vestil and College of Education alumnus, Hanz Denzil Villahermosa are among the eight of participants of YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Civic Engagement in Spring 2017.
The Academic Fellowship Institute is an intensive academic program whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders and recently graduated leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. It has three areas which include social entrepreneurship and economic development, environmental issues and civic engagement in which Vestil and Villahermosa will participate in.
According to Vestil, “I guess what makes this fellowship stand out above the rest is that the program is intensive in that you really focus on the track that you specialize in (civic, environment, and social entrepreneurship) and above all, there is a followthrough after the program where we develop and implement service projects for a community back here in the Philippines.”
The participants will take part in a five-week residency of a US university or college, leadership development, an educational study tour, local community service activities and opportunities to engage with American peers. The program concludes in Washington, D.C. to allow for engagement with policymakers, governmental representatives, businesses, and think tanks.
Villahermosa, after almost not making it to the deadline of submission of application, said “This fellowship is going to be a one-of-a-kind experience for this will finally shed answers to some questions that hinder me from fully establishing and pursuing my passion in community service. This is more than just a fellowship but a goal-oriented endeavor for I look forward to putting up my own community initiative right after the fellowship.”
Vestil, the current editor-in-chief of the Portal yearbook will be accommodated at Kennesaw State University in Georgia while Villahermosa, currently a fulltime instructor at the SU Junior High School Department, will be at University of Nebraska-Omaha.
YSEALI was launched by President Barack Obama to enhance the United States’ relations with future leaders of Southeast Asia and foster an ASEAN community in 2013.