The Asia Foundation Development Fellows Leadership Program 2017, South Korea, Vietnam, USA

Publish Date: Oct 28, 2016

Deadline: Nov 21, 2016

About the program

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program is a prestigious leadership program offered each year to engage and empower a dynamic community of emerging leaders from all over Asia. Designed to enhance leadership skills, Asian development knowledge, professional networks, and international exposure for Asian professionals, the multifaceted learning program consists of intensive modules in Asia and the United States, while providing the flexibility for Fellows to customize individual professional development components and to stay in their current occupations during the Fellowship year. Fellows are highly talented individuals, under age 40, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment, integrity, and leadership potential within their professional fields and within their larger community. Fellows must also display a track 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. If you are interested in becoming a Fellow, please read the information and instructions below.

The program and Important dates

The 2017 program will be conducted in South Korea, Vietnam, and USA (San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC) with a flexible small grant award of US $5,000 provided.

  • November 21, 2016 (Monday, 11:59pm [PST])

Application deadline for the 2017 Fellowship year

  • January 2017

Selection finalized

  • April 9-22, 2017

South Korea – Leadership Training Program
Vietnam– Workshop on Asian Development

  • September 10-26, 2017

USA – Leadership Dialogue and Exchange

Program Description

The Asia Foundation Development Fellows program is comprised of the following five components:

Leadership Training Program
The Leadership Training Program features an intensive one-week course at the Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management in South Korea. With the larger objective of enhancing leadership skills and potential, the training focuses on strategic thinking and decision-making, working with participants on developing critical perspectives, solving complicated problems, managing change, and introducing innovative approaches in leadership and management.

Workshop on Asian Development
Immediately following the Leadership Training component is a one-week study tour program involving leading development practitioners and thinkers, recognized policy leaders, and academics who will help Fellows explore various approaches that deliver positive impact and advance development knowledge. The workshop is held each year in a different Asian nation, where development challenges and innovations will serve as a contextual backdrop for applying theories and concepts in international development. Previous workshops have taken place in the Philippines, Nepal and Mongolia.

Leadership Dialogue and Exchange
Fellows will take part in a leadership dialogue and exchange program in the United States, providing important opportunities to extend personal bonds with their cohort, as well as building international perspectives and networks of support and inspiration. Over a two-week period, the Fellows will take part in a comprehensive series of programs, policy discussions, and leadership development opportunities organized in and around San Francisco, New York, and Washington DC.

Professional Development Award
An award of up to US$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 individualized plans to further their leadership skills and relevant professional experience in areas of particular importance to their career growth. Each Fellow will be asked to develop a personalized, year-long work plan that can involve such areas as enrollment in 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.

Building on the regional network and local capacity of The Asia Foundation, the Development Fellows program offers a mentoring component that is tailored around the background and professional interests of the Fellows. The Foundation has valuable perspectives to lend to the field of leadership development, with a proven program history and record of commitment throughout Asia. Fellows will also become part of an active and engaged alumni network.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Asia Foundation Development Fellows must:

  • Have a demonstrable record of high achievement, and must show evidence of outstanding potential for professional advancement, and significant impact in their chosen field;
  • 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;
  • Have outstanding personal character and integrity;
  • 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 of the fellowship year (year following application deadline);
  • 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; and
  • Be resident nationals or citizens of the following countries where The Asia Foundation has programs: Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Laos; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Timor-Leste; and, Vietnam.

For further information on eligibility, be sure to read our Frequently Asked Questions. You may also direct your inquiries to the Asia Foundation Development Fellows staff at


The selection for the Asia Foundation Development Fellows program is highly competitive. Initial screening and evaluation will be handled by staff at The Asia Foundation who will review each application thoroughly and narrow down applicants to a pool of finalists. Later, final selections will be conducted by a committee of distinguished experts who bring high levels of familiarity and expertise with Asia’s needs and development conditions to their determinations, and will be tasked with carefully weighing issues including equity, opportunity, community and professional, and leadership potential in their deliberations. Fellows will be chosen without regard to sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic background, marital status, or financial need. The identities of nominees will remain confidential throughout the final selection process.


Step 1) Check you eligibility

Please carefully read the Eligibility and Selection criteria above, including our frequently asked questions.

Step 2) Prepare for the application process

Review and follow the Application Guidelines and Instructions containing detailed information on how to complete each component of the application.

Online Application form

  • Personal information
  • Written submission
  • Supplementary materials: CV and transcript
  • Short video submission
  • Letters of recommendation (handled online)

Step 3) Startyour application

The online application is now open. Deadline is Monday, November 21, 2016 at 11:59pm (PST).

For more information click "Further official information" below.

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Eligible Countries











Myanmar (Burma)


North Korea




South Korea

Sri Lanka


Timor-Leste (East Timor)


Host Countries

South Korea

United States