November 13, 2019

Congratulations to the Fall 2019 Alumni Impact Award Winners!

Congratulations to the three #ExchangeAlumni of the Professional Fellows Program -- Alicia Ng, Chit Aein Thu, and Manel Bargaoui -- for winning the 2019 Professional Fellows Alumni Impact Awards! Representing the nations of Malaysia, Myanmar, and Tunisia, these inspiring exchange alumnae made impressive and positive impacts in their communities.

They will be recognized at the 2019 Professional Fellows Congress, hosted in Washington, DC from November 20-21, 2019. The Congress gives them the opportunity to share their inspiring stories while networking with nearly 300 Professional Fellows who have completed fellowships across diverse settings within government entities, civil society organizations, and business across the United States.

Explore their bios below to learn more about these spectacular #ExchangeAlumni and their achievements!

Koh Chang “Alicia” Ng

Kuching, Malaysia

Alicia Ng is a strong environmental advocate. At the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Malaysia, she supports local indigenous communities to build sustainable businesses, such as organic farming and ecotourism. In 2017, she spent six weeks in Arkansas with Little Rock Urban Farming, a community-based food enterprise producing fresh produce for local markets. This international exchange experience helped expand her work within WWF Malaysia and in her volunteer and business ventures. Alicia has helped establish various partnerships throughout Malaysia, including one with the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Highlands of Borneo (Formadat). Together, they push for sustainable development in the region under the “Heart of Borneo” initiative that improves the welfare of those living on the island and minimizes deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

Alicia is a certified mediator for the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil and the author of a coffee table book, Highland Tales in the Heart of Borneo, featuring the Borneo community’s past, present, and future, intertwined with their natural surroundings. In 2016, Alicia co-founded Artinsia, a social enterprise, aiming to train underprivileged women living in remote villages in artisanal skills to supplement their income. In addition, Alicia established "Artinsia for Paws," an artisan program that supports healthcare and rescue for stray animals. Every item is uniquely hand-crafted by female artisans who developed their skills through Artinsia’s training programs.

Chit Aein Thu

Yangon, Myanmar

Chit Aein Thu, founder of CCEducare in Myanmar, increases educational opportunities for students in regions with a lack of schools and qualified teachers. Prior to her four-week fellowship (2017) with NextThought in Oklahoma, Chit worked at a technology software company which inspired her to innovate the traditional education system in Myanmar. Her host organization, NextThought, specializes in educational technology and collaborative learning – the perfect place for Chit to bolster her leadership abilities and build partnerships that launched CCEducare.

Chit’s vision is to provide equal access to educational opportunities for all young people in Myanmar through online platforms with a goal to launch an online university. Through CCEducare, Chit is unlocking students’ potential by helping them develop professional and lifelong learning skills, equipping them to pursue higher education and be change-makers in their communities. CCEducare developed multiple training centers in Myanmar, collaborating with one of Myanmar’s largest NGOs, Proximity, which uses CCEducare platforms to educate farmers and agricultural staff. CCEducare Myanmar was awarded the Mekong Innovative Seed grant in 2017, and the YSEALI Seeds for the Future grant in 2018.

She is also a consultant in multiple youth empowerment projects beyond her home country, and founded WomenLead, an organization aimed at helping underprivileged women sell their artisanal products through fair trade, providing them with a dependable income.

Manel Bargaoui

Ben Arous, Tunisia

Manel Bargaoui is an author, teacher, mobile app manager, and pioneer advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing in Tunisia. Following her fellowship with the National Association of the Deaf in Silver Spring, Maryland, an organization that promotes the rights of deaf people in the United States, Manel taught English with Tunisian Sign Language. Her participation in the PFP inspired her to author Let's Handspeak English, an English-student book designed for the deaf and hard of hearing community in her home country. Beyond her teaching and authorship, Manel is the creator of the LET’S (Learning English Through Signs) mobile application. In addition, she is the head organizer of the Let’s Handspeak Weekend Studies, which brings together deaf and hearing communities to learn entrepreneurship and leadership skills together.

Not only does Manel work on improving the educational system for deaf people, she is an international advocate for their rights as well. Her project in Tunisia was selected among the 24 best initiatives in an international competition organized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights and she recently presented at the United Nations in Geneva as a Tunisian Human Rights Ambassador. She is also an advocate through public speaking, having hosted both a TEDx and AMENDS Talk in 2018. Manel is also a member of the Tunisian Fulbright Society.