Sponsored by the US Department of State and implemented by Gaylord College and the Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth on the University of Oklahoma campus



The Professional Fellows Program is a two-way global exchange programme meant to foster mutual understanding, strengthen leadership and professional abilities, and establish long-term and sustainable collaborations between mid-level rising leaders from other nations and the United States.

Program participants who are not citizens of the United States will participate in a comprehensive 5 to 6 week Fellowship programme that includes a 4-week work placement at a U.S. company that is specifically suited to their professional goals and needs.


Official Program Announcement – Professional Fellows Program
Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Theme: Economic Empowerment
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State


Contact us: [email protected]

What benefits will the program provide for fellows?

• 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, Indian-American, Pakistani-American and Sri Lankan-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 Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Eligibility Criteria

• Be emerging leaders in either civil society or the private sector in Pakistan/India/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka 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 either a Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan citizen

• 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 and its partners will look for people who are:

• Self-directed; 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
• Innovative and open to new ideas.

Additional program requirements

  •  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