Since 1982, the US-Asia Institute has organized a number of Professional Development Programs for a variety of participants from China, Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia to facilitate their understanding of the United States, its people and culture, its Government, rule of law, the political and economic environment, and the policy-making process. Past participants have been from the government, academic and business sectors at a range of levels – young leaders to established professionals, depending upon the focus of the particular program. Past focuses have been in the area of rule of law, security, strategic concerns, economics, the political process, governing, etc. At different times, we’ve had between one and fifteen participants. Funding for the program has come from private and corporate donations as well as grants, and in the late 1980s with U.S. Information Agency funding. The participants travel to the United States for one to six months, and are immersed in a program tailored to their interests. The main part of the program would be conducted in Washington, D.C. with possible side excursions to other locations.
They are also paired with various offices/individuals in a short-term professional development “shadowing” component. This helps facilitate understanding of topics and/or processes for government or other aspects “in action” helping participants to develop an observational knowledge base while being able to engage these experts in discussion. This aspect allows participants to see firsthand how government works or how an organization or a person influences government, etc. in real time.
For purposes of this program, the US-Asia Institute will help to arrange housing, if needed, while the participant is in the Washington, D.C. area, and will make arrangements for participant transportation and other logistical and administrative details as required. Further, the US-Asia Institute will oversee the professional development program, ensuring participants meet the criteria and take away an expanded understanding and appreciation, enabling them to return to their country to share this knowledge and experience and to apply it as appropriate.
Over summer 2017, USAI hosted WAN Xing “Eveleen” – a Program Officer with the Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Department of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government from Chengdu, China – as a Professional Development Fellow. Sponsored by USAI Senior Advisor Robert Jordan, Eveleen spent June 3 – August 3, 2017 in Washington, DC to more fully understand the American political system, and the U.S.-China relationship from an American perspective. Through one-on-one meetings, attending briefings and hearings, and interacting with American government officials, business and academic leaders, and peers, Eveleen gained a deeper understanding of the political system and process. While in Washington D.C. she also was able to participate in some of the 2017 USAI Szymanski Rule of Law Program meetings and interface with the Thai American National Interns as well as the USAI Team. USAI started the Professional Development Program in 1982 to provide emerging professionals the opportunity to learn more about the United States, its people, its, culture and its government through hands-on observation. Past participants have include PU Ning (China), J.W. Kim (Korea), HE Zhigeng (China), Hua Jin (China) and Naif Yusoff (Brunei).