Experiential Professional Development (XPD)


The East-West Center's Experiential Professional Development (XPD) designs, facilitates, and evaluates innovative, non-residential, experiential programs in partnership with dozens of Universities, non-profit and for profit organizations, and U.S. Embassies across Asia and the Americas including the Innovation for Sustainable Development Fellowship (#EWCinnovationfellows), EWC Ocean Research Corps (#EWCoceancorps) for early career ocean researchers, EWC Innovation Challenges on various themes (eg. circular economy), and an annual EWC environmental awards program. XPD also offers the bi-annual, residential and virtual YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues (#yseali) with eleven (11) U.S. Embassies and the University of Montana for the U.S. Department of State’s signature program for leadership development in Southeast Asia, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative. Learn about our impact in the 2020 XPD Impact Report

XPD Non-Residential Fellowships 

The EWC Innovation for Sustainable Development Fellows (#EWCinnovationfellows) is an initiative to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is officially recognized by the United Nations as an SDG Acceleration Action (#SDGAction37761). Non-resident fellows co-design and co-deliver live and virtual innovative programs and events across Asia and the Americas accelerating progress towards the SDGs for the EWC within their organization, company or University. Fellows are young professionals and EWC Alumni (under age 40) in the arts, environment, education, health, and disaster resilience sectors supported in five (5) modules delivered virtually over the course of five (5) months. 

XPD Non-Residential Internships

Photo Credit: Irwan Hermawan

The EWC Ocean Research Corps  (#EWCoceancorps) responds to UNESCO’s call to “change how we finance and conduct ocean research” by training 100 young researchers in 100 different communities across Southeast Asia for the Ocean Decade. Officially launched in 2021, the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the ‘Ocean Decade’, runs through 2030 and provides a common framework to ensure that ocean science can fully support achievement of the SDGs. Researchers are YSEALI members and Early Career Ocean Professionals (less than 10 years' experience) from underrepresented backgrounds in the ocean sciences and  nominated by program partners such as Blue Communities Network and Perhentian Marine Research Station for ten-month, non-residential prestigious EWC research internships.  

XPD Residential Fellowships in Hawaii

YSEALI 2019 Fall cohort The YSEALI Academic Fellowship on Environmental Issues (#yseali) for undergraduate and recent graduates from Southeast Asia are run in partnership with the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), eleven (11) US Embassies who select all fellows, our implementation partner the University of Montana Mansfield Center, and with the U.S. Department of State.

Cohorts of 21 fellows whose average age is 21 complete a 21 week curriculum with 21 books to read. Some current books include: The Synthetic Age, Clean Meat, Leading from the Roots, A Bright Future, A New Climate Story, California Greenin', and Factfulness.  Five (5) weeks are spent together in Hawaii, North and Central California, Yosemite National Park, and Washington D.C. 

The East-West Center has also hosted Institutes on Environmental Issues Global Cohorts (Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, Turkey) and Institutes on Environmental Issues Middle East Cohorts (Jordan, Palestinian Territories). 

 XPD Events and Workshops

Photo courtesy InnoDays.org

Our portfolio of virtual, hybrid, and in-person events and workshops run in collaboration with multiple, regional and in-country partners including US Embassies, the InnoDays organization, Hornbills: Concepts and Communications (HBCC), Smithsonian Institution, and others. Offerings include EWC Innovation Challenges based on the popular open innovation strategy known for accelerating progress on ambitious goals, EWC Debates which encourage academic fellows and stakeholders to deepen their understanding of different perspectives on emerging issues, EWC Bootcamps strengthening and connecting stakeholders of innovation ecosystems, and an annual awards event highlighting progress and seeding constructive conversation on environmental issues called #EWCearthoptimism Awards


XPD Ambassador for Southeast Asia: Sofiah Jamil

XPD Ambassador for Europe: Doris Carini

XPD Ambassador for Americas: Lance C. Boyd (EWC Senior Specialist) & Saw Thinn