Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

A Texas-sized congratulations to all 10 Young Leaders of the Americas Fellows selected for the 2017 program at The University of Texas at Austin, hosted by the UT International Office. We are thrilled to welcome you to a dynamic program set in the innovation capital of the United States.

The Young Leaders of the America's Initiative (YLAI) is a two-way, global exchange program designed to enhance leadership and professional skills, and build lasting and sustainable partnerships between mid-level emerging leaders from foreign countries and the United States.

Through YLAI, you will be empowered to strengthen your capacity to launch and advance your entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in your communities.

Through the YLAI program, you will:

  • Be placed in a professional fellowship at a start-up, small enterprise, small business group, NGO or social enterprise
  • Build networks, linkages and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for your entrepreneurial ventures
  • Develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to your home countries

The fellowship placement is complemented by weekly virtual classroom sessions. The YLAI Fellows will also engage in community service activities to experience service learning, network with local business leaders and join cultural enrichment activities to learn more about Texan and American ways of life.


You will be placed in a professional fellowship at a start-up, small enterprise, small business group, NGO or social enterprise during your time in Austin. This fellowship is a two-way exchange that creates opportunites for both parties to learn from each other. Additionally. your fellowship hosts can offer cultural insights, goal setting advice advice, support and contacts.


YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute

The YLAI program will consist of weekly workshops focused on key aspects of entrepreneurial activities and skills needed for success. Each workshop will be facilitated by a local expert in each topic.

The weekly topics are:

  • Action Plans and Accountability - You will discuss personal and professional goals and objectives for the fellowship
  • Leadership and Inspiring Others to Action- You will learn about leadership styles and strategies and examine your own leadership style
  • Scaling Your Business - learn how to sustainably scale your business

Leadership Development

You will participate in two leadership workshops facilititated by the Leadership and Ethics Institute (LEI), meant to provide you with additional leadership skills to enhance you leadership capacity in your home countries.

Workshop topics include -

  • True Colors - an interactive team-building session that will help you identify your personal leadership style
  • Courageous Leadership - a training designed to help individuals undertand the impact of leading with personal core values

Pitch Competition and Workshops

During YLAI, you will prepare a 3 minute business pitch and present this along your pitch slide deck to a panel of judges. In prepration of your business pitch, we have organized two workshops to help you develop and practice your pitch before the competition.

Community Engagement

Community Service and Cultural Activities

During the program, you will have the opportunity to engage with the community though a variety of experiences. Through community service, you will learn from local leaders about the community needs their organization addresses and how they succeed. Examples of these activities may include:

Networking Nights

Throughout the program, you will take part in networking events hosted by leaders in the Austin community. From these experiences, you will expand your professional networks and engage in dialogue with associates from a variety of sectors.


During the program, you will spend one weekend living with a local family as a way to further engage with US culture and build a personalized connection with members of the Austin community.

  • Opening Ceremony - Oct. 3 - Oct. 6 (Atlanta)
  • Institute - Oct. 7 - Nov. 5 (Austin)
  • Closing Ceremony - Nov. 6 - Nov. 8 (Washington D.C.)

As a part of the Young Leaders of the Americas program, you will receive Accident and Sickness insurance coverage. The plan provides health insurance coverage for the duration of the program.

International Office - The University of Texas at Austin
2400 Nueces Street, Suite B
Austin, TX 78705
Phone: +1-512-471-2477

Program Team:

Annette Whatley, Program Coordinator

Krystle Haney, Program Coordinator

General questions:

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