ASEAN CSR Fellowship

Applications for the ASEAN CSR Fellowship (2017) have closed

If you have questions and would like to speak to a program representative, please email Ms. Melissa Chong at:
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The inaugural ASEAN CSR Fellowship seeks to build up the next generation of ambassadors for responsible business in Southeast Asia, harnessing the potential of the private sector to address key regional issues in anti-corruption, environmental degradation, poverty and human rights. A small team of high-potential individuals will be selected from business, government and civil society, to be equipped with in-depth theoretical and practical concepts in responsible business. As ASEAN continues to face a variety of complex issues, the new fellowship programme is an important milestone to deepen cross-border perspectives, and unite a generation of CSR leaders in our goal towards regional sustainable development.

This year-long journey will take Fellows to 4 different countries across ASEAN, spending a week every quarter in Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines. Covering the full spectrum of ASEAN member states with varying levels of economic development, the Fellowship starts in the financial hub of Singapore, continuing to the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, before venturing to the less developed cities of Yangon and Manila.

Each week spent in the different countries will feature a series of study tours to meet top business leaders, government officials, academics and civil society practitioners, as well as personal guidance by mentors who are recognized experts in their respective fields. Each module will also feature a deep-dive topic, delving into difficult issues such as the rights of migrant workers, supply chain management and how to attract the right foreign direct investment.

Throughout the year, Fellows will be guided on an action plan to deliver a Capstone Project in their home countries – a long-term CSR project with measurable outcomes – with the top project gunning for the “Top ASEAN CSR Fellow Award” and a grant of up to SGD10,000 to empower its expansion. All Fellows will present their Capstone Project at the end of the programme, and receive a certificate of completion. By nurturing an alumni of leading CSR practitioners in their respective countries and guiding them to implement actionable projects, the Fellowship aims to sow seeds for the transformation of the business landscape in Southeast Asia into one that recognises not just profits, but also people and the planet.

“Let us face the facts: The old model is broken. We need to create a new one – a new model for dynamic growth. Growth that is equitable…growth that can be sustained within planetary boundaries…growth that will benefit current and future generations”

- Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“We resolve to consolidate our Community, building upon and deepening the integration process to realise a rules-based, people- oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community, where our peoples enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms, higher quality of life and the benefits of community building, reinforcing our sense of togetherness and common identity.”

- ASEAN Community Vision 2025


Widen knowledge

Understand issues from the perspective of different countries from the full range of ASEAN’s economic spectrum. Attend hands-on site visits to build breadth, and classroom sessions to build depth. Gain a deeper understanding of specific industries and its challenges through ‘deep-dive’ sessions, covering issues such as migrant workers, agriculture and how to attract the right foreign direct investment.

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Throughout the programme, Fellows will be connected to top industry, government and civil society leaders, who will also serve as mentors for their Capstone Project. Networking will be a key value-add for the Fellowship, presenting invaluable opportunities to build a professional network for years to come.

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Capstone project

With the guidance of their mentors, Fellows will implement a CSR project relevant to their context, presenting an opportunity to apply the key learning objectives acquired during the Fellowship. All Capstone Projects will be hands-on, have clear measurable outcomes and relevant for their own context. It will be executed in their home countries during the breaks between each module. There will be an option of independent or group work (with other Fellows from the same country), and will be implemented either in their own companies and organisations, or implemented independently.

An example could include: Conducting a series of training workshops for their company to help procurement staff understand the importance of forced labour mitigation. 

Fellows will present their Capstone Projects at the end of the Fellowship, and the top project will be awarded a grant of up to SGD10,000 as seed funding to empower its expansion.

The ASEAN CSR Fellowship is kindly supported by:


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In Celebration of ASEAN 50th Anniversary

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4 weeks over a 1-year duration

The ASEAN CSR Fellowship is not a full-time fellowship. Fellows will typically remain in their occupations throughout the fellowship year while participating in the program modules.

Modules & Locations

The fellowship is comprised of 4 modules, and each module will be taught in a different ASEAN nation for a duration of 1 week each.

Fellows will meet 4 times a year in the following countries to cover these 4 modules:

  • Singapore
  • Indonesia (Jakarta)
  • Myanmar (Yangon)
  • Philippines (Manila)

*Locations may differ from year to year

Number of Fellows accepted per year

 15-30 fellows
Application Criteria
  • National citizen of any of the 10 ASEAN member states
  • Leaders in business, government or civil society, with a demonstrable passion in and commitment to advancing a career in CSR
  • 25 to 40 years old

Joining us a Fellow

Entry into the Fellowship will be through the following routes:

  • Application
    Up to 20 Fellows will be selected for a partial or full scholarship, offered by the Government of Sweden. More information on the scholarship below. Other applicants keen to attend will be self-financed or company sponsored.
  • Invitation by ASEAN CSR Network
    We will be selecting high potential individuals from business, government or civil society for participation in the Fellowship.


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Fellows will have to complete all modules to graduate from the Fellowship. Special arrangements can also be made for non-Fellows who are keen to attend only specific modules. 

Each module will be taught through classroom sessions and site visits:

Modules Dates Location Theme Topics Covered (classroom sessions and site visits)


30-Dec 2016 – 9 Jan 2017 Online Online Pre-Study:
Understanding the Basics
"Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability in Practice" by University of Nottingham
Module 1 9-13 Jan 2017 Singapore

Making CSR Work: Addressing Governance & Human Rights Issues

Introduction: Fellows will learn about CSR 2.0, a movement to redefine the meaning of CSR from corporate philanthropy and volunteerism, to re-looking at businesses operations to ensure they are responsible to people and the planet. The attention is shifted from how businesses spend money (charity) to how the money is made.

What is the business case for responsible business? In today's changing landscape, are there increasing demands from external stakeholders - consumers, investors, employees, media - for ethical business?

Topic 1: Human Rights: Core topics in the human rights and anti-corruption discourse will be covered. This includes international standards such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Why do corporates have a responsibility to protect human rights? Which business sectors are most susceptible to lapses in governance and human rights? How do problems like forced labour practices inadvertently enter the supply chain? 

Deep dive topic: Migrant workers and human rights

Module 2 3-7 Apr 2017 Indonesia
Opportunities and Challenges in the ASEAN Economic Community:
The Business Case for CSR

The ASEAN landscape: Following a tour of the ASEAN Secretariat, Fellows will gain insight into the work of ASEAN, its ongoing efforts in tackling regional issues, and the business case for the private sector to engage in responsible business practices.

What role do businesses have to play in sustainable development, if this is commonly seen as a responsibility of governments and civil society? How can businesses help to address some of ASEAN's key issues, such as the transboundary haze? 

Topic 2: Sustainability: Fellows will have an in-depth look into supply chain management, sustainable reporting and environmental management. Key concepts CSR tools will be introduced, such as ISO 26000 and GRI Guidelines.

Deep dive topic: Agriculture

Module 3 3-7 July 2017 Myanmar
Role of Business in Sustainable Development:
Learning from Myanmar

Topic 3: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Fellows will visit an emerging ASEAN member state, Myanmar, for a deep dive on specific measures businesses can take to support sustainable development. Myanmar is currently undergoing an economic and political transition, and will present a unique opportunity to gain insight into issues including rural development, environmental management and foreign direct investment.

Deep dive topic: Attracting the right investors - ensuring the wellbeing of people and planet are not traded off for profits

Module 4 (Fellowship Closing) 4-8 Sept 2017 Philippines
Recognition of Fellows

Management skills: Soft skills such as leadership and management will be taught

Recognition of Completion: Fellows will present their Capstone Project to a selection panel, with the top project receiving the “ASEAN CSR Fellowship Award” and seed funding of SGD10,000 to help awardees expand their project. All Fellows will receive a Certificate of Completion.





Up to 20 Fellows will be selected for a partial scholarship funded by the Government of Sweden, as part of their efforts to promote sustainable development in ASEAN. Fellows will have to bear the cost of 4 return flights on their own, while all other components of the programme will be covered by the partial scholarship.

There is no need to apply separately for the scholarship, as all Fellowship applicants will be automatically considered at the discretion of the selection panel.


For those who are accepted into the programme but do not receive a scholarship, the full cost for the programme is as follows:

Course fees: SGD 5,000
Flights*: SGD 500 x 4 times a year = SGD 2,000
Accommodation*: SGD 150 per night x 5 nights x 4 countries = SGD 3,000

Total: Approximately SGD 10,000

*Fellows who would like to reduce costs may book their own flights & accommodation


The Fellowship will be taught by partners from various sectors, who will contribute by hosting site visits, providing mentorship or run in-depth classroom sessions. Participating partners include:

  • ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC)
  • Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS)
  • Indonesia Business Links (IBL)
  • Integrity Initiative (Philippines)
  • International Chamber of Commerce - Malaysia
  • Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO), National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School
  • Thai Listed Companies Association
  • League of Corporate Foundations (LCF)
  • Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB)
  • Oxfam
  • Asia Business & Rule of Law Initiative, Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI)
  • Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry
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ASEAN has made extraordinary progress since it was founded in 1967. It has transformed into an increasingly well-regulated, dynamic and creative platform across what many regard as the world’s fast- developing economic region. In the recent years, it has seen dramatic changes – from Myanmar’s transition into a democracy after years of military rule, the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, to steady growth in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.Yet, key challenges remain in this region. Its phenomenal rise over the past few decades has been driven mainly by Factory Asia. As one of the world’s largest workshops, it was able to rapidly produce goods to feed the world’s voracious appetite – but often at a cost to human rights and the environment. Against the backdrop of this growth, human rights have often been systematically traded off in the interest of short-term profits, including abusive work environments, land- grabbing and discrimination against migrant groups. Environmental and health disasters like the transboundary haze continues to persist due to unsustainable business practices in the agricultural industries, while corruption and political instability continues to be a significant hindrance to ASEAN’s emerging economies. Meanwhile, the world stands watch while the influx of foreign investment continues to balloon in transition countries – such as Myanmar and Cambodia – serving as a test-bed for ASEAN’s ability to achieve economic development without social and environmental trade-offs.