The Harpswell ASEAN Program in Women’s Leadership is an annual two week program in women’s leadership for young professional women from the ten countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.


The Harpswell ASEAN Program in Women’s Leadership is based at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang, Malaysia, and is organized by Harpswell in partnership with the Center for Research on Women and Gender (KANITA) at USM. One of the priorities of the Program is to create an ongoing network of support among participants and alumnae.

The Program is based on the Harpswell leadership curriculum, and includes lectures, workshops, site visits and group activities. Curriculum topics are critical thinking, debate, leadership skills, civic engagement, women’s health, Southeast Asian government and society, gender studies, and communications and technology. Trainers come from the Harpswell Foundation, USM, and universities and organizations from around the ASEAN nations.

The Program fosters a strong alumnae network so that graduates can stay in touch with each other, reinforce self-identity, and support each other in their efforts to bring about positive social change. The fifth program is currently scheduled for June 27-July 7, 2021, and is fully enrolled.

To learn more about the Program, or to apply for our 2022 session, please go to our Program Website  or contact Leila Mojaher, Program Administrator, at Leilamohajer@usm.my.


  • Professor Dr. Aisyah Saad, USM Massive Open Online Course Manager: Communications and Technology
  • Penny Burtt, CEO, Asialink: Women’s Leadership in a New Age
  • Dr. Leila Mohajer, Administrative Director, Harpswell ASEAN Program in Women’s Leadership
  • Professor Dr. Alan Lightman, Founder and Chair of the Board, the Harpswell Foundation, and Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Critical Thinking and Debate
  • Alison Pavia, Esq., Executive Director, Harpswell Foundation: Civic Engagement
  • Associate Professor Dr. Noraida Endut, Director, Centre for Research on Women and Gender, KANITA, USM: Gender Theories and Studies
  • Professor Dr. Rashidah Shuib, Centre for Research on Women and Gender, KANITA, USM: ASEAN and Women’s Empowerment
  • Dr. Vannarith Chheang, Southeast Asia Analyst, the Nippon Foundation, Enrich Academy: ASEAN and Women’s Empowerment

“This training has taught me, foremost, empathy. This is the first time that I attended a training with ASEAN neighbors, and given the diversity of cultures, we face different struggles, but we all have the desire to move our societies forward–this has given me hope for the future.” – Program participant from the Philippines