YSEALI Seeds for the Future

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future Program is a small grants competition to support innovative initiatives in Southeast Asia. It provides funding for the region’s most promising young leaders to carry out projects that improve their communities, countries, and the region across the program themes of Civic Engagement, Education, Economic Growth, and Sustainable Development. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Cultural Vistas began administering the program in 2017 and will continue through 2021.

Learn about YSEALI Seeds grant recipients

Applications Status Update

The applications for the 2021 YSEALI Seeds for the Future have now been reviewed. All applicants and winners have been notified about the results via Project Leader’s email provided in the application. If you have not received your results, please reach out to us at yseali@culturalvistas.org.

Follow us on social media and stay tuned for more exciting updates about this year’s YSEALI Seeds projects!

Blog Posts and Press Releases


Inside the YSEALI Seeds for the Future Experience



Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, 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 of leaders who work across borders to solve common issues.


Approximately 65% of people in the ASEAN region are under the age of 35. YSEALI is an effort to harness the extraordinary potential of youth in the region to address critical challenges and expand opportunities.


The YSEALI community consists of bright young leaders, 18–35 years old, from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam who are making a difference in their communities, countries, and the region. Learn more about the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative at yseali.state.gov and join the official YSEALI social media communities on Facebook and Twitter.

The YSEALI Seeds for the Future program is sponsored by U.S. Department of State and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Cultural Vistas will administer the program through 2020.



Cultural Vistas

Founded in 1963, Cultural Vistas is a nonprofit exchange organization promoting global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions. It develops international professional experiences that create more informed, skilled, and engaged citizens. Every year, Cultural Vistas’ 30-plus unique exchange programs empower thousands of individuals and organizations in the United States and more than 135 countries to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society.

212.497.3500  |  yseali@culturalvistas.org  |  culturalvistas.org

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I better prepare my YSEALI Seeds application?

We strongly encourage you to join live webinars listed on this website. It is a unique chance to ask your questions first-hand. You can view the previous webinar recordings on Cultural Vistas YouTube channel. Through the webinars you will learn more about creating successful YSEALI Seeds application and budget proposal, as well as receive some advice from the previous YSEALI Seeds grantees.

Who can submit a proposal?

To submit a proposal you must be a registered YSEALI member, be from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, or Vietnam, be between the ages of 18 and 35 and have a project that addresses at least one of the following themes:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Economic Growth
  • Education
  • Sustainable Development

Can I submit more than one project proposal?

No, you may be listed only on one 2021 YSEALI Seeds for the Future proposal. Submitting multiple proposals with the same team-members could negatively impact your chances at being selected.

What makes a successful project proposal?

A successful project is one that is feasible, innovative, reproducible, and scalable making a tangible difference in any one of the four YSEALI themes. Make sure to tune in for one of the live webinars to learn more.

Is there a maximum or minimum number of people on a team for a proposal?

There is no maximum, however, there should be an appropriate number of people in relation to the size and scale of the project. Additionally, the strongest proposals will have different people in each of the three leadership roles of Project Leader, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Does my project need to affect more than one ASEAN country?

No. However, the strongest proposals will offer solutions that can be replicated in more than one country or region.

Does my project need to have members from more than one ASEAN country?

No. However, the strongest proposals will encourage cross-border collaboration.

Does my proposal need to be in English?

Yes, all proposals must be written in English. Proposals submitted in languages other than English will be disqualified.

Can my project receive funding outside of the 2021 YSEALI Seeds for the Future Grant program?

Yes, all projects will be encouraged to seek crowdfunding through Generosity.com or other platforms and to seek additional funds through the private sector to create as much impact as possible.

How do I come up with a budget?

Budgeting is one of the hardest and most critical parts of your proposal. You must list all appropriate and applicable costs while remaining cost-conscious and feasible. The most successful projects are realistic in their costs. Please use the budget template from the application to help you get started. Make sure to not include any sustained salaries or large equipment purchase in your budget as those are not within the scope of the YSEALI Seeds grant.

How will projects be evaluated?

Projects will be evaluated by Cultural Vistas staff in conjunction with U.S. Mission to ASEAN staff and sent off to a U.S. Department of State grants panel for final review and selection.

How will I know if my project was awarded funding?

The award announcement will occur in February-March 2021, thus, your project should plan to be nine months starting in March 2021. The winning teams will be notified first via email. Other applicants will also receive an email notification.

How will funding be dispersed?

If selected, you will receive 60% of your funds after submitting the answers to the follow-up questions based off your initial proposal requested by Cultural Vistas. You will then receive 35% of funds six months later, after submitting your monthly reports and your mid-term report. Finally you will receive the last 5% of the project funds after submitting your final report with project results.

What is Cultural Vistas' role?

Cultural Vistas will be your point of contact for the entire process and serve as your mentor to implementing your project. Any questions you may have on administration, budgeting, planning etc. Cultural Vistas will work with you. Additionally, Cultural Vistas will provide online mentorship to assist you in different aspects of your project from before, to during, to after the grant has completed.