Outbound Project Story: Mallory Tuttle and Sitta Marattanachai

written by Mallory Tuttle, Strome Entrepreneurial Center Program Manager at Old Dominion University

Norfolk –> Bangkok –> Chiang Mai –> Bangkok –> Trang –> Bangkok –> Norfolk

The final leg of this amazing experience is almost over and I continue to be amazed by the passion and drive of the people here. Every person I met during my stay here was an entrepreneur – every single person. Thailand truly lives by the motto “entrepreneurship is for everyone”. I came prepared to share everything I knew about entrepreneurship but I gained much more during my two weeks here.

During the final week of the outbound project I was able to go back to my roots and apply my education and experience in eco-tourism and hospitality and tourism management to entrepreneurship and innovation.

Sindy Marattanachai provided introductions to two unique social impact startups. We toured Once Again Hostel and met the team that is empowering locals and improving the community with every stay. We also met up with the CareerVisa Thailand team, discussed career development services innovations and toured their space at dtac Accelerate.

I met an awesome group of leaders from NIA : National Innovation Agency, Thailand and discussed the ODU Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and specifically the student entrepreneurs we work with at the ODU Strome Entrepreneurial Center. I learned more about the programs they offer including Startup Thailand and Founder Apprentice and hope to establish a more formal partnership for collaboration with the organization moving forward.

We hosted our final Young Founder Essentials Workshop in Trang at Suan Dusit University. Students learned about tourism trends and used design thinking to develop solutions to problems facing the tourism industry within their community. The student teams completed their social business model canvases, presented their business pitches and engaged in Q&A with the panel of judges. Their ideas ranged from enhanced tourism itinerary app development to AR/VR tourism experiences.

We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Bohin Farmstay, a local eco-tourism destination that provides authentic tourism experiences for southern Thailand. Due in part to their sea grass replenishment project the conversation status of the Dugong species decreased from endangered to vulnerable.

Thank you again to the U.S. Department of StateAmerican Councils for International EducationOld Dominion University, Sindy Marattanachai, Aom Kwanpirom Suksri, Jaimie At AmericanCouncils, Mauli At AmericanCouncils, and all of the other organizations, faculty/staff and volunteers who made this project possible.

I am looking forward to bringing back new ideas, thoughts and connections to ODU. I’m pretty certain this will go down in the history books as the longest commute I’ll ever have but it was totally worth it!

TH Mallory Tuttle and SittaTH Mallory TuttleTH Young Founders Essentials

Outbound Project in Manila: Ryan Lock and Rhiza Nery

written by Ryan Lock, Natural Hazards Unit Manager and Planning Section Chief, Florida Division of Emergency Management

As a state emergency management professional, I do not often have the chance to discuss disaster-related issues with international counterparts. As such, I was thrilled to be able to participate in the reciprocal component of the Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative Fellowship in the Philippines with the Philippines Disaster Resiliency Foundation. During this program, I was able to engage in the World Food Program’s Field Logistics Emergency Exercise where I was able to work alongside with professionals from the Philippines, Cambodia, the Red Cross, the United Nations, and others. Being able to see these partners in action coordinating an integrated international response was a unique experience. Afterwards, I was able to do site visits have discussions with multiple disaster partners. From these visits, I found that Florida and the Philippines share the same issues when it comes to emergency management. Despite this, we are working to resolve them in different ways, coming up with different solutions, and sometimes making the same mistakes. Opportunities such as this fellowship provide the venue for dialogue and the establishment of lasting sharing that otherwise would not exist. While The Philippines and Florida may never have to coordinate with each other during a disaster, the experiences, best-practices, and efforts of one are useful for the other. I am incredibly thankful for being able to participate in the program, and look forward to the continued sharing of information and ideas.

PH Rhiza and Ryan Lock

Outbound Project Highlight – Meeting the Deputy Minister of Education in Thailand

by Tanes Rianglaem, Fall ’18 YSEALI PFP Fellow from Thailand


General Surachet Chaiwong, Deputy Minister of Education, received a courtesy visit of Mr. Bradley Rickelman, U.S. Department of State exchange participant, endorsed through Professional Fellows Program, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Mr. Rickelman is on a mission to support a series of tailor-made trainings in “Advanced Entrepreneurial Education” for 51 vocational colleges nationwide and “Accelerating Tourism-based Enterprises” for 16 vocational colleges in Surat Thani, Phuket and Phang-nga.  These training are hosted under collaboration between Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) and U.S. Department of State Professional Fellows Program with primary objectives to strengthen management skills of OVEC incubator administrators and to promote creative networks among these administrators in different regions throughout the country. This reciprocal project is supported through Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), which builds the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and promotes cross-border cooperation to solve regional and global challenges.  Mr. Tanes Rianglaem from Office of the Vocational Education Commission was an active participant of YSEALI Professional Fellows Program in fall 2018.

TH Brad Rickelman meeting Dep. Minsiter of Education

Fingertalk Team Won Grand Prix for Daigaku SDGs Award in Tokyo

written by Dissa Ahdanisa, Spring ’16 YSEALI PFP Fellow from Indonesia

The Fingertalk team, represented by the founder Dissa Ahdanisa, won the first prize, Grand Prix, of Asahi Shimbun annual Daigaku SDGs Action Awards in Tokyo on 20 February 2019. After passing the first round of document application, Fingertalk, representing Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, was selected to be one of 12 finalists.

As suggested by its name, the competition was open to undergraduate, graduate students and researchers from universities all around Japan to come up with ideas that will help achieving any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The goals cover areas such as poverty eradication, high quality education and social justice. Accordingly, finalists ideas ranged from providing educational program for young Japanese students to creating affordable and portable toilet for underprivileged communities in Southeast Asia.

Dissa presented Fingertalk most recent project, Plushindo. It empowers underprivileged Deaf community by creating creative products to support endangered animals in Indonesia. The project was born from the collaboration with Hijrah Saputra from Piyoh Design, who designed the creative product, plushies, modeled after several endangered animals in Indonesia such as orangutan and Komodo dragon.

Last year, supported by New Zealand Embassy, while training the Deaf, the project was able to produce up to 600 plushies and provide educational program to young school children all around Indonesia. Dissa, Hijrah and Fingertalk team hopes by winning Daigaku SDGs Award, the project will be able to expand and create opportunities for more Deaf people in Indonesia.

The award was given by Mr. Ishida Ichiro, Marketing director of Asahi Shimbun as the lead judge. He mentioned that the project has a potential to expand globally and to sustain in the coming years. Dissa dedicates the win to all of the Deaf crew who has worked hard and hoped that it can act as a bridge for Japan and Indonesia. “It is definitely a step to eradicate social inequalities. We will work hard to create more impact in the world. Ganbarimasu!”

dissa and hijrah fingertalk