About the Exploring Social Innovation (ESI) Program
Since 2010, VIA has hosted more than 350 university students and young professionals from across the world in Silicon Valley for the ESI Program. Participants learn about social innovation, meet entrepreneurs, make international friends, and reflect on their personal and professional goals. The program has shifted to a virtual format during the coronavirus pandemic, we are tentatively planning to resume the in-person program in February 2023 (learn more about the ESI program).
Our Vision for the Social Innovation Education Fellows’ Role
VIA aspires to support and enable social innovation educators to prepare the next generation of creative and effective innovators working towards a more fair and flourishing world.
The Fellows will assist in recruiting participants from their home communities, be the primary contact for participants in their region, be a leader and mentor during the Exploring Social Innovation program, and maintain connections with VIA alumni. This position is an opportunity for VIA alumni and innovative professionals to develop professional recruitment, leadership, changemaker training, presentation, and virtual facilitation skills through program orientation and implementation. The Fellows will be key in promoting VIA’s social innovation programs in Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, and other regions. They will provide support to participants in learning key concepts, and developing a community before, during, and after the program. Fellows will also receive training on facilitation skills as well as feedback to help them improve their own training ability.
- Before the program
- Support participant recruitment by joining information sessions, developing and implementing outreach plans, and sharing information with personal networks.
- Attend six 2-hour training meetings to plan program activities, including energizers and presentations.
- During the program
- Observe participants and collect feedback through discussions and reflection sessions.
- Lead / co-lead energizers, program sessions, and small group discussions.
- Provide support for participants; serve as the primary facilitator for teams (4-5 participants per team).
- Act as a bridge between VIA staff and participants.
- Document and post-program activities and experiences (photos, videos, social media).
- Participate in daily facilitation, team reflection, feedback, and planning sessions.
- After the program
- Help improve the design of some workshops and the whole program through post-program reflection and feedback.
- Connect ESI participants with the VIA alumni community in your region, if applicable.
A strong fellowship candidate has:
- Strong organizational skills; ability to work independently and in a team
- Ability to serve as an effective bridge between program participants and VIA staff during the program
- Experience with past VIA programs and dedication to program goals
- An interest in training and supporting future changemakers
- Strong interest and/or experience working with social issues/social entrepreneurship in Asia
- Experience or strong interest in design thinking/social innovation
- Comfortable discussing complex issues in English; willing to promote the use of English during the program
- Experience or strong interest in designing and facilitating virtual programs
- Experience with digital engagement tools such as Zoom
- Experience with event planning and promotion, especially through social media
- Experience with developing outreach and recruitment strategies to identify potential applicants
- Available for activities in the evenings and on weekends
Location: This program will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area, with site visits in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
- Fellowship Application Period
- October 23: Application deadline (if you submit your application before the deadline, you may be invited to an interview earlier).
- October 25-29: Online interviews with VIA staff (~30 min on Zoom).
- October 31: Successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance to the position no later than this date.
- November 4: Deadline to accept the position.
- Participant Recruitment & Program Preparation
- Early November – Orientation meeting for team-building and participant recruitment.
- Mid-November – February – Assist with program planning and pre-program preparations.
- November – December – Program recruitment, info sessions, and applicant review and selection.
- Program Implementation & Follow-Up
- Late January – Pre-Program Orientation (online)
- Early February – Fellows arrive in Silicon Valley 3-4 days before the program for final preparations.
- February 8-18, 2023 (tentative) – Facilitate ESI Program in Silicon Valley.
- Late February – Post-program reflection and wrap-up.
- Funding: Airfare and travel expenses, food, housing, and all other program-related expenses are covered for fellows during the program period.
- Training: VIA supports the Fellows’ professional development and provides mentorship to strengthen their skills in:
- Leadership & Mentorship
- Virtual Facilitation
- Project-based Learning
- Cross-Cultural Communication
- Team-Building and Development
- Critical Analysis and Discussion of Social Issues
- Recognition: Fellows will receive an official certificate of recognition upon successful completion of the fellowship. We are also happy to provide letters of recommendation based on your performance as a Social Innovation Education Fellow.
- Connections: Finally, Fellows come away from ESI with lifelong personal and professional connections to VIA’s international network.