The Asia Foundation Development Fellows Program 2019

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program provides highly qualified, young professionals from Asia with an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen their leadership skills and gain in-depth knowledge of Asia’s critical development challenges. The prestigious, year-long career advancement program draws on The Asia Foundation’s extensive 18-country network and deep expertise working with innovative leaders and communities across the region.

In these times of rapid change and extraordinary development challenges throughout Asia, the need for creative, inspired, and transformative leadership has never been more imperative. To address this need, The Asia Foundation has created the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program, an initiative designed to identify, nurture, and support dedicated next-generation leaders across Asia. The program aims to strengthen and enhance the ability of carefully selected leaders and changemakers to advance Asia’s social, economic, and political development through forward-looking initiatives and policy reforms. Leveraging The Asia Foundation’s rich 65-year history of development experience, the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program targets and invests in an extraordinary body of young and emerging Asian professionals – NGO and civil society leaders, government officials and policymakers, social entrepreneurs, journalists, environmentalists, and academics. The various components of the program create a nexus of disciplines, working environments, professional experiences, cultures, and country contexts through which development practitioners and professionals can build practical skills and enhance leadership capabilities while deepening bonds of regional and international perspective, understanding, and commitment.

Program Overview

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program is a multifaceted experience-enhancing leadership skills, Asian development knowledge, professional networks, and international exposure for young Asian professionals. The program also provides the flexibility for Fellows to customize their own professional development component and to stay in their current occupations while participating in the program’s rigorous modules. The program is comprised of the following four components:

  • Leadership Dialogue and Exchange program in Asia (2 weeks);
  • Leadership Dialogue and Exchange in the U.S. (2 weeks);
  • Professional Development Award of US$5,000; and
  • Mentorship, formally allowing Fellows to tap into The Asia Foundation’s extensive human resources and thematic expertise.


 Asia, United States


  • An award of up to $5,000 will be made available to each of the selected Asia Foundation Development Fellows.
  • This cash award will allow each Fellow the opportunity to design and shape individualized plans to further their leadership skills and relevant professional experience in areas of particular importance to their career growth and potential.
  • Each Fellow will be asked to develop a personalized, year-long work plan that may involve specialized training programs or short courses, language study, travel to attend key regional forums or workshops, or engagement in a series of other enrichment activities to further their leadership and professional capabilities.


Asia Foundation Development Fellows must:

  • Have a demonstrable record of experience and accomplishment related to The Asia Foundation’s fields of expertise: governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation;
  • Be thoughtful, committed, respected and inspirational leaders within their professional fields and within their larger community;
  • Be under 40 years of age by January 1, 2020;
  • Be conversant in English (TOEFL exam results are not required);
  • Be available and able to participate in all program components on the program dates specified;

Eligible Regions: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

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