Professional Fellows Program Empowers Young Leaders Globally

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 10, 2015

The U.S. Department of State will host the Professional Fellows Congress November 10-12, in Washington, D.C., for 240 emerging leaders from 43 countries. Fellows are completing their exchange program after intensive month-long placements with U.S. organizations in the fields of economic empowerment, environmental sustainability, legislative process and governance, NGO management, and tolerance and conflict resolution. The program underpins State Department efforts to build the capabilities of emerging international leaders, while strengthening ties between Americans and representatives from around the world.

A number of the Fellows are also part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), which launched in 2013 as President Barack Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia.

In Washington, Fellows will take part in workshops and networking events designed to broaden their professional expertise. During the program, Ambassador Kristie Kenney, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, will speak with the group.

The State Department annually honors distinguished alumni of the Professional Fellows program for community and social achievements. The four honorees this year are an advocate for disability rights from Russia; an advocate for youth employment and entrepreneurship from the Palestinian Territories; a champion of community-based agriculture from Montana who built a successful farming program for Burmese refugees on the Thai border; and a community organizer from Massachusetts who works on rehabilitation and reconciliation for Rwandans affected by the genocide.

Host organizations for the fellows in 31 states included a broad and diverse array of organizations at the cutting edge of their field. These include AJ+, Ashoka, Autism Speaks, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, ConSource: The Constitutional Sources Project, Deloitte Consulting, The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School, Los Angeles Times, MassChallenge, Microsoft Ventures, National Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund.

To see more about the fellows’ experiences in the United States, follow @ProFellows and #ProFellows on Twitter. For press inquiries, please contact