During the month of May, Dubuque is hosting three young professionals from Southeast Asia.
The young professionals are participating in the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Environmental Sustainability Professional Fellows Program, specifically the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program.
The goal of the program, funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is to create institutionalized long-term partnerships that support emerging leaders and their institutions in the ASEAN countries and the U.S. to inspire change in addressing the challenges of environmental sustainability.
The fellows include Ms. Mi Hoang of Vietnam, professor at Ho Chi Mihn City University of Economics and Finance; Mr. Hendri of Indonesia, director of fertilizer and pesticides for local government; and Ms. Astrid Soray Fitriani of Indonesia, environmentalist for Swisscontact. The fellows are visiting with Dubuque leaders to learn first-hand how environmental sustainability challenges are addressed in the United States, with all three fellows having a particular interest in the area of agriculture and the impact of climate change. Fellows learn practical skills focusing on climate change, sustainable energy, and environmental justice while fostering interaction with leaders from city and county organizations, private non-profits, education, state and federal government, as well as private sector.
Dubuque was one of the original pilot communities selected by ICMA to participate in the Professional Fellows Program in 2011 and has been the only community nationwide to participate in the program for six consecutive years. Dubuque has hosted Fellows from China (three times), Australia, New Zealand, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, and the Philippines. The program brings emerging leaders from around the world to the United States for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise and provide interaction between American and foreign participants. Participants spend up to six weeks in the U.S., during which they receive hands-on exposure to various levels of government through carefully designed full-time fellowships in national legislative offices, state legislatures, state or local government offices, advocacy groups, or other relevant organizations. At the conclusion of their fellowships, participants travel to Washington, DC, for a three-day Professional Fellows Congress. In total, 200 leaders from more than 45 countries and territories will participate in the Professional Fellows Program this May and June.