Deadline: December 1, 2015
Location: Oklahoma, USA.
Type: Fully Funded.
The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma has partnered with the U.S. Department of State, the Center for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) at BRAC University in Bangladesh, BRAC Myanmar in Burma and Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) to host a five-week professional exchange in the United States that includes a professional fellowship placement at an American small business organization. The first Professional Fellows Exchange program for 2016 will be in May and another is scheduled for October 2016.
This program, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Professional Fellows Program, will inject Bangladeshi, Burmese and Indian mid-level emerging leaders in small or start-up business ventures, business administration, government, NGOs, business education, incubation hubs, community training programs or social entrepreneurship into working small businesses in Oklahoma and associate them with one of America’s leading universities. The program aims to provide professional experience and training that will nurture participants’ talent and prepare them for more responsible leadership positions in their businesses, communities and society in general as they return to their countries. In addition, the program will provide U.S.-based small business stakeholders an opportunity to collaborate with their Bangladeshi, Burmese and Indian counterparts as they participate in a two-week outbound exchange to the respective countries in June/July 2016 and December 2016/January 2017.
Interested applicants must adhere to the following requirements to be eligible to apply:
- Be emerging leaders in either government, civil society or the private sector in Bangladesh/Burma/India who have demonstrated expertise in economic empowerment and entrepreneurial/small business development in the respective countries;
- Have relevant experience and expertise in the small business/entrepreneurship/economic empowerment profession;
- Be a citizen of either Bangladesh, Burma or India;
- Be interested in experiencing hands-on the activities in a U.S. business or economic empowerment organization;
- Be committed to the importance of a sustainable and empowering business sector in a democracy;
- Be proficient in written and spoken English as the entire exchange program and professional placements will be conducted in English;
- Be computer-literate;
- Be between the ages of 25 and 40.
In selecting participants, the grantee organization and its in-country partners will also give preference to candidates who are:
- Able to work independently, as well as in a teamwork environment;
- Able to adjust to changing cultural settings and environments;
- Considered leaders in their profession and their community;
- Genuinely interested in developing and/or expanding on an individual project of their own selection in their home workplace or community; and
- Innovative and open to new ideas.
Additional program requirements include:
- Ability to travel without family members (including children) or other individuals (relatives, friends);
- A guarantee that participants will, at all times, comply with all program requirements and program activities.
Through this program, participants will specifically:
- Be exposed to the day-to-day workings of the U.S. business workplace through quality professional experiences of four weeks;
- Gain exposure to a variety of American business organizations and networks in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.;
- Get a conceptual and practical background for integrating themselves into the American business environment through conceptual lectures, discussions and exercises to expose them to concepts related to budgeting, business plans, strategic communication, leadership and management principles, social media developments, the business/government interface, intellectual property, contracts and business ethics;
- Enhance their leadership skills to facilitate positive change in their workplaces and communities as they develop personally and professionally;
- Participate in weekly face-to-face feedback sessions with University of Oklahoma faculty to reflect on their professional experiences for that week;
- Be exposed to a variety of business networks in Oklahoma designed to support start-up companies and to governmental/media institutions that can influence business;
- Be exposed to rich cultural experiences that represent Oklahoma’s unique environment especially the Native American experience, and exposure to American family life in a variety of settings;
- Become acquainted with the Bangladeshi-American, Burmese-American and Indian-American communities in the Oklahoma City metro area;
- Be exposed to networking opportunities with U.S. placement hosts and partner organizations in an ongoing discussion and exchange of ideas, support and resources;
- Get connected to a network of alumni from previous professional exchanges programs, professional placement providers and university faculty to facilitate ongoing discussion and exchange through social networking; and
- Have the opportunity to reconnect with Oklahoma stakeholders who will make reciprocal visits to Bangladesh, Burma and India.
If you are interested in applying for this program, fill out the online application form at Note that all application and supporting material MUST be provided in English. The deadline for submitting the online application is December 1, 2015. The grantee organization and in-country partner will review applications from December 2, 2015 onward and set up in-person interviews with a shortlist of candidates in the respective countries in January 2016.
If you have questions, contact the following in-country representatives:
- Bangladesh: Shamim E. Haque (firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Burma: Kazi Faisalbin Seraj (email@example.com);
- India: Sanjay Pal (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Or contact program director Elanie Steyn (email@example.com) at the University of Oklahoma.
Organized by: The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Oklahoma.