Philippine Youth Leadership Program (PYLP)

Youth Leadership Program logoThe Philippine Youth Leadership Program (PYLP) Year 9 brings to Northern Illinois University (NIU) 27 youth and adult leaders from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and surrounding provinces in the Philippines from April 14 to May 17, 2012.

Northern Illinois University (NIU), through its International Training Office (ITO) and its new partner institution in the Philippines since April 2010–AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines Foundation, Inc. (AFS IPP)–recruit and select participants, deliver an intensive five-week U.S. exchange program focusing on the themes of civic education, leadership development, respect for diversity, and community activism, and facilitate the cooperative implementation of service projects in Mindanao. PYLP Year 9 provides new knowledge and experience for the participants and prepares them for a lifetime of leadership and community service.

NIU has successfully implemented seven Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State (BECA)-funded exchange programs to create a new generation of empowered youth leaders from all faiths and ethnic groups in the southern Philippines to contribute toward peace building efforts in Mindanao. We are currently in the midst of the eighth Philippine Youth Leadership Program. 

PYLP Year 9 is envisioned to (1) advance a dialogue and promote greater mutual understanding and respect between Muslim and non-Muslim youth from the ARMM and surrounding provinces; (2) create, educate, and empower a new generation of young leaders with a strong sense of civic responsibility and commitment to social change and community development; and (3) promote a better understanding of the United States--its people, culture, values, and civic institutions. 

The specific objectives of this program are to: (1) unleash the potential of youth to engage and work together as catalysts for positive change in their communities; (2) sharpen participants’ skills in leadership, civic education, community activism, and respect for diversity; (3) enhance participants’ appreciation of their similarities and differences through various interactive activities that will improve mutual understanding and respect; (4) provide participants with tools for working collaboratively across ethnic and religious lines for future community projects; (5) develop in the participants an appreciation and understanding of the cultural, gender, ethnic, and religious diversity of America; (6) provide them ample opportunities for interaction with their American peers and opportunities to volunteer in community service programs in DeKalb and suburban Chicago that will provide experience in civic participation.

The following outcomes are envisioned: (1) the foundation will be laid for an expanded and committed generation of youth leaders and activists who will initiate sustainable social changes in the ARMM and surrounding provinces; (2) increased knowledge and skills in leadership, civic responsibility, community activism, and respect for diversity; (3) appreciation of the value of community service as evidenced by increased levels of participation in volunteer work; (4) deeper understanding of the causes of inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflicts in Mindanao; (5) better appreciation of similarities and differences between U.S. and Philippine cultures; (6) new knowledge and skills in action plan development and coalition-building; (7) established networking and collaboration among alumni in developing and implementing community service projects and the modeling of positive cooperation among ethnic, religious, and socio-economic groups; and (8) enhanced understanding of Asian cultures among NIU faculty, staff, and students.

The 20-month project starts July 2011 and ends February 2013.  It includes four phases: (1) A four-day Pre-departure Orientation. (2) Five-week U.S.-based Exchange Program on responsible citizenship, community activism, leadership development, respect for diversity, and action plan development. (3) Implementation of community service projects in Mindanao. The Project provides mini-grants for the community projects designed by the participants.  (4) Follow-on Program for the alumni to reinforce values and skills learned during the exchange program at NIU and present a progress report on their community project. It will be held at a designated site in Mindanao or in the Visayas.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila is also a participating partner organization.

  • Project Director: Dr. Susan Russell
  • Administrative Director: Dr. Lina Davide Ong
  • Program Coordinator: Leslie Shive
  • Training Coordinator: Dr. Rey Ty
  • Full-Time Training Assistant: Srie Ramli
  • Partner Organization in the Philippines: AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines Foundation, Inc. (AFS IPP)

AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines Foundation, Inc. (AFS IPP)
Unit 1607 16/F Antel Global Corporate Center
No. 3 Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center
1600 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Telefax: 02-5842002
E-mail address: