Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam—The YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam (hereinafter the YSEALI Academy) officially announced the launch of its Technology and Innovation Seminar titled “The Digitization of Trust”. This seminar is now open for applications until April 7, 2022.

Launched in 2020, the YSEALI Academy’s main mission is to build capacity and enhance leadership skills for young professionals ages 25-40 from across Southeast Asia and Timor-Leste. Each year, the YSEALI Academy offers four seminars on Public Policy, Technology & Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The 2022 Technology and Innovation Seminar on Digitization of Trust is geared towards young leaders who are interested in learning how their decisions are affected by A.I. technologies that facilitate trust between people and machines.

Over the course of two weeks, the fellows will learn about A.I. technologies that redefine our concept of “trust” and how they are changing our society both beneficially and negatively.  The fellows will acquire skills to critique and carefully adopt current A.I. technologies as well as the ones they will encounter in the future. The YSEALI Academy will be inviting high-profile speakers and panelists who are shaping these A.I. technologies or are in the frontlines of the societal disruptions caused by technologies.  Besides lectures, leadership skill workshops will provide the fellows useful knowledge and sharpen up their abilities in making decisions and solving dilemmas as new A.I. technologies present incredible benefits but start to disrupt their organization.  The seminar will culminate in an awards ceremony followed by the graduation of the YSEALI Academy fellows. The major topics include:

  • Understanding the Bias of A.I. and Its Influence on Decision Making
  • The Rise of Synthetic and Manipulated Media
  • Blockchain and the Automation of Trust
  • Legal Implications of A.I. Decisions

The Technology and Innovation Seminar on “The Digitization of Trust” will be opened to 35 YSEALI Academy fellows who are young professionals between the ages of 25-40, highly qualified and motivated, from all 10 ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste. Once selected, all participants will be fully funded by the U.S. Department of State to attend the seminar. The lectures, panels and teamwork sessions of the seminar will be mainly conducted in the afternoon and evening (GMT +7) with the expected participating time of 48 hours.

Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, this seminar will be conducted online.

Seminar schedule:

  • Enrollment: March 7 – April 7, 2022
  • Announcement of Result: 29 April, 2022
  • Seminar dates: May 30 – June 10, 2022 (two weeks, ten working days)

To find out more about the seminar program: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/en/seminars/technology-and-innovation/

To apply: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/apply/

“New technologies, particularly those related to A.I., have the incredible ability to affect our decisions.  As the youth of Southeast Asia rapidly embrace new technologies, the young leaders need to be at the forefront of critiquing these new tools, maximizing their benefits for their organizations while mitigating the risks.” Vladimir Y. Mariano, PhD – Lead Faculty for Technology and Innovation at the YSEALI Academy.

Being a proud representative of Brunei, the country that chaired the ASEAN Summit 2021 with a focus on digital transformation, Marlina Ahmad shared that her journey with YSEALI and the YSEALI Academy’s flagship seminar on Technology and Innovation had been rather “unconventional”. Her profile is not one we usually envision when we think of a fellow leading in tech, yet her engagement on the topic is unparalleled. Marlina believes that digitalization is improving our way of life and our ways of working, regardless of what industry one sits in.

Tackling digitalization from a different angle

Marlina Ahmad is currently a Communications Advisor at Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP), an energy company with more than 90 years of history employing 4000 professionals with over 20,000 business partners. Her position although intersects multiple industries is still far from what we usually think of when we hear technology and innovation.

Marlina (middle) at Brunei Shell Petroleum’s Digi/Tech Week

When the buzzword digital transformation pops up, most people would envision cool technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, those that help businesses run faster and smoother. But these technologies do more than enhance productivity. They also change how people communicate with each other, how businesses keep in touch with their customers, and how teams work with one another.

Digitalization has an opportunity to improve our ways of working does not matter what industry you sit in. I already do not fit the [tech innovation] profile in terms of industry, I do not even fit the profile in terms of expertise. But I firmly believe that having data-backed communications is very important.” – Marlina assessed.

While ‘Content is king’ has been a proven approach in communications for years, ‘Data is king’ has been gradually gaining traction and becoming a new rival trend. “You can spend weeks cultivating this seemingly perfect message but if it does not reach the right audience, all of that work can go down the drain.” Data is a measurement of success. It is a measurement for negotiation, especially in formulating KPIs for various deliverables.

Marlina shared that her main goal was to learn how to utilize data and technology to make communications more effective. Although she does not come in with a conventional motivation, it is still a very highly applicable motivation. In fact, in just a few months after the Digital Transformation seminar at YSEALI Academy, the fellow confessed that she found herself saying “I have learned [this] in [the YSEALI] seminar, maybe we can try doing [that]” on multiple occasions.

From a makeshift change to a sustainable digital adoption

Brunei Shell Petroleum is currently undergoing a digital transformation journey to address business problems by bringing greater efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. The business modernization process was still ongoing when the pandemic hit, which prompted activities to be accelerated. Aside from new entrance passes for essential workers and extended bandwidth for work-from-home staff, communications were also shifted to a new platform.

One of the simplest examples is moving the notice board in the office to a makeshift notice board online, which may sound like a modest change, but it brings on so much more perks to all parties. From Marlina’s side, she can now generate data reading on headcounts, unique user account reached, and then identify trends for each news so that she can send out more relevant materials for the company.

In mere weeks, the company’s systems were upgraded to adapt to the new ways of working with a greater emphasis on going digital. Marlina was surprised by how people just naturally accepted digitalization ever since the pandemic. “We upgraded the system before this but did not fully embrace the transformation. Sometimes it is not about having the system, but rather about knowing how to work it. You are very dependent on who knows what to do with the data or realize that there are opportunities and data for us to grab on it.”

There is more than the technology and the infrastructure that powers digital transformation: more than anything else, mindset and the human capacity to handle such technologies are what matter most. “It is more important than ever to cultivate knowledge for digitalization and technology because we want to upskill our people and we’ve got to know how to do that,” Marlina stressed. Next year, the fellow will be moving to a new position involving even a wider range of stakeholders, and she is excited to integrate more concrete data-backed communications.

A holistic view with diverse schools of thoughts

While the technical lectures were greatly informative and applicable to her work, Marlina also found incredible value from the diverse schools of thoughts. “Technology and research can be read online anytime I want but encounters with different ways of thinking and exchanges of opinions are hard to find. Getting the right people in for a discussion and being exposed to new ways of looking at things, those are different, and those bears incredible value to me.”

She believes that information should be disseminated by practitioners. The fellow expressed immense satisfaction when she spoke about various interactive sessions in the seminar, especially ones that were paneled by leading industry experts, bringing in a very realistic and well-rounded pool of different perspectives and approaches.

Marlina at the launch of her published books: The BSP’s Energy Series

In addition to the rigorous schedule of lectures and panels, Marlina was particularly impressed with the YSEALI’s signature leadership workshops. Being a young professional in a large corporation, she reflected that sometimes it can be hard to acclimatize to certain ideas, like the traditional way of working or the corporate culture itself, and especially to leadership. Henceforth, the workshops were of tremendous help for Marlina to build her own style of leading.

“And most importantly, having so many representatives and young professionals within Southeast Asia also participating in the seminar was a brilliant experience! We get to meet people with different backgrounds and different skill sets, and we get to exchange a lot of information and knowledge.”

Marlina shared that although each country is on a unique track and each fellow joining the seminar is on their own way of becoming a regional leader, “rather than fixating on what makes us different, we decided to see what similarities we share”. The fellows all have a lot of aspirations, and they have a lot of drive, and “by learning with [them] and from [them], the seminar changed the way I view things and change the way I tackle different things at work.” Marlina is hopeful about a future where they can continue to collaborate with these newfound friends in a regional project and she cannot wait to explore all the amazing possibilities for her YSEALI fellows and for herself.

Bảo Trâm

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam— The YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright) officially announced the launch of its second seminar in 2021. The seminar is under the theme of Technology and Innovation and will focus on Digital Transformation Challenges and Opportunities in Post-COVID-19. The application period is now open until July 15, 2021.

Launched in 2020 by the U.S. Department of State, the YSEALI Academy at FUV’s main mission is to build the capacity for young professionals, aged 25-40 from across Southeast Asia (Fellow). In 2021, the YSEALI Academy at FUV plans to offer three flagship seminars addressing challenging issues facing the region such as energy economics and policy, digital transformation challenges and opportunities, and fundamentals of startup investing in Southeast Asia.

The aim of the virtual two-week Technology and Innovation seminar on Digital Transformation Challenges and Opportunities in Post-COVID-19 is to provide training on an overview of digital transformation in Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on technology readiness, firm and consumer behavior, and regulatory aspects of fintech, e-commerce, digital finance, telecommuting/teleworking, data privacy, and cybersecurity. Through the course, Fellows can understand how companies across industry accelerate digitalization to increase resilience during and post-COVID-19. The seminar combines theoretical and experiential learning and includes high-impact practical experiences relating to maximize the engagement of participants.

The seminar will be offered by affiliate faculty from the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, practitioners from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Fulbright, international and regional scholars and industry experts to develop and deliver learning materials and activities that are academically rigorous and practical to young professionals in ASEAN.

The Technology and Innovation seminar on Digital Transformation will select 25 fellows who are young professionals between the ages of 25-40, highly qualified and motivated, from all 10 ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste. Once selected, all seminar costs will be fully funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Seminar schedule:

  • Enrollment: June 15–July 15, 2021
  • Participant selection announced: August 09, 2021
  • Seminar dates: September 13–24, 2021 (two weeks virtual, ten working days, Monday – Friday)

To find out more about the seminar program at HERE

To apply: https://yseali.fulbright.edu.vn/apply/

“We hope to inspire young leaders, those who want to build their leadership competencies and be the resilient leaders of the new normal world post COVID-19 pandemic, through the seminar series at YSEALI Academy,” emphasized Dr. Le Vu Quan, Director of YSEALI Academy. “The virtual seminar is a testimony of Fulbright’s commitment to digital transformation in higher education to provide knowledge across national borders,” he added.

Similar to the Public Policy Seminar, this Technology and Innovation Seminar will be offered online. Starting in 2022, YSEALI Academy will offer face-to-face seminars in Vietnam.