St. Paul University Philippines




Caritas Christi urget nos!

(By: Allaine Azada)

With almost a thousand applications received, a 20-member review committee had chosen Mr. John Kit Masigan, the SPUP Grade School Activity Chairman as one of the 17 Filipinos sent to participate in a sought-after international exchange program of the US Department of State.

The Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Fall 2017 Academic Fellowship is an intensive 5-week academic institute from August 30-October 4, 2017 whose purpose is to provide groups of young leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.

Mr. Masigan was hosted by the University of Montana (UM) which is on the top 2.4% of Universities Worldwide (Center for World University Rankings) with 20 other fellows from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. His fellowship, focused on Global Environmental Issues, consisted of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. The institute included an academic residency through the coursework and classroom activities which are complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities.

“We are very privileged to be hosted by the University of Montana which is located in Missoula, a welcoming and vibrant city. It has been named as one of America's 100 Best Communities for Young People and there is always something happening, from community events to enjoying the abundance of wildlife close to the city,” said Mr. Masigan.

Academic Component
Academic fellows were introduced to environmental policy issues through a full slate of speakers, workshops, and field trips while meeting with university faculty and community leaders and participating in workshops on conflict resolution, mediation, communication, and negotiation skills.

The program underscored issues of shared environmental concerns by letting the participants explore the role of environmental policy in the development of the United States and introducing them to various partners in shaping policy and implementing programs. They were also exposed to U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions through the prism of environmental policy and used their home experiences to put environmental issues into a global context.

Group Projects
Fellows, grouped by interest, presented an environmental challenge in their home countries that parallels a similar issue in Montana. Meanwhile, the program team worked with Fellows to identify issues and appropriate source material, including interviews with representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Mr. Masigan added, “These projects provided a vehicle for on-going YSEALI engagement between us as we return home and pursue our project goals.”

Educational Study Tour
While based in Missoula, they en¬joyed a variety of field trips through¬out the state. They studied key policy issues with experts in the Missoula area; at Glacier National Park; in the capital city of Helena; in the Anaconda Company mining corridor of Butte and Milltown; and in the heart of the Flathead Indian Reserva¬tion of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

As part of their nationwide Educational Study Tour, they were brought to New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana to study watershed management, natural disaster recovery and mitigation in coastal areas, and coastal climate change research alongside experiencing the diversity of Southern culture in the U.S.

They spent the final stop of the program in Washington, D.C. to analyze international issues and federal legislation with a focus on environmental and national security, environmental issues in a global context, and the development and enforcement of environmental legislation.

YSEALI Overview
Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community.

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