Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program
April/May 2012. CSEAS will host twenty-five high school students and five adult leaders from five Southeast Asian countries—Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, and Thailand—for the spring session of SEAYLP. During the 25-day program, participants will learn about cooperative leadership strategies, diplomacy,civic action, waterway ecology, and American culture. The group will spend eighteen days in Illinois before leaving for a week in Washington, D.C., to wrap up the program. SEAYLP is funded by the U.S. Department of State and operated by CSEAS in cooperation with the Division of International Programs. The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through academic, cultural, professional, and sports exchange programs. ECA exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in more than 160 countries and the U.S.
SEAYLP program vision
- To nurture the youth of Southeast Asia as they emerge into the future generation of leaders.
- To promote good governance and advance conflict management and prevention.
- To give participants the confidence to collaborate and establish mutual understanding across ethnic, religious, and national boundaries.
- To develop both intercultural understanding and national pride through interaction and expression.
- To develop commitment to community development.
- To sharpen leadership skills appropriate to the needs of those in Southeast Asia.
Spring 2012 themes
As in past SEAYLP programs, the spring agenda will stress two major themes: waterway ecology and the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. Educational and social activities are organized around these themes.
Waterway ecology. SEAYLP participants will conduct water testing, work on a service project with the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, interact with nonprofit groups that focus on waterways, host an Earth Day event, and visit the Chesapeake Bay in Washington, D.C. Participants will learn about resources and strategies to help them develop citizen action plans focusing on environmental issues. They will present their initiatives to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., and implement them upon their return to their home countries.
Lincoln's leadership. The spring SEAYLP program also will explore the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Illinois and whose leadership skills held the young United States together at a critical point in its history. The group will tour major sites associated with Lincoln in both Illinois and the nation’s capital. Understanding Lincoln’s life story and his position within the history of the United States not only offers an example of the challenges leaders face when confronting differences, but also serves as an inspiration to students as they begin to develop their own leadership roles. While visiting monuments and historic sites, we will also explore the legacy of civil activists, like Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., whose powerful words and peaceful actions led to the improvement of human and civil rights.
NIU's commitment to learning through service and community interaction
Students learn more and develop more when they have authentic learning experiences. That improvemnet is even more profound when it can be shared through service to the local, regional, and global communities. SEAYLP participants and staff utilize this format to enrich their learning and experience.
Student interaction. The program draws on NIU’s strength as an educational institution by employing students associated with the center to serve as mentors for student participants. Staff members not only plan events, but also strive to connect with participants to reinforce educational concepts while demonstrating leadership skills themselves. The staff both teaches and learns along with participants about the region and the commonality of struggles. Thay bring experience from various academic activities, service, and foreign travel to inform their work, but also find invigoration for their studies in the passions and enthusiasm of participants. We also encourage others students and members of the NIU community to meet participants for dinner or at planned social events. If you would like to help with the program and/or meet participants, please contact the staff at email@example.com.
NIU Center for NGO Leadership and Development (NGOLD). We look forward to working again with NIU's new Center for NGO Leadership and Development. Past collaboration with NGOLD has enriched participants' knowledge and skills, and NGOLD's guidance has helped participants more fully understand the tasks they set for themselves. We are also certain that the growing prominence of the NGOLD on campus, with its new major in Community Leadership and Civic Engagment, will further support the NIU's continued involvement with SEAYLP.
High schools. Interacting with local high schools through visits and joint activities is another key element of the SEAYLP experience. The opportunity to meet U.S. high school students, both at traditional public high schools as well as the prestigious Illinois Math and Science Academy, is always a highlight for participants and further affirms global cultural and international ties. Additionally, watching the way teachers and students interact teaches participants to inform and inspire members of their own communities about their projects.
Home stays. Another vital aspect of the SEAYLP program are home stays with local families. These two-week stays coordinated by NIU's International Training Office serve as an intensive and experience-based introduction to American life. Through interactions with their peers in the program, home stays offer important lessons in understanding diversity among local families and living situations. Furthermore, participants are able to give back to the local community and encourage cross cultural goodwill by sharing stories and information about their own countries and families with their American hosts.
U.S. State Department support
This is the third year CSEAS has operated the SEAYLP program, which is funded for 2011–12 by the U.S. Department of State this year with a $282,000 grant for the fall and spring sessions. The center first hosted the program in 2009–10 with participants from nine Southeast Asian countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Laos joined SEAYLP in fall 2010.
One of seven federally designated National Resource Centers for Southeast Asian studies, CSEAS is uniquely qualified to host SEAYLP. Its more than 30 faculty associates are active researchers who teach substantial Southeast Asian content in their courses. In addition, the CSEAS staff has extensive experience hosting guests from Southeast Asia and engaging young people in workshops and projects that increase awareness and knowledge of Southeast Asia.
HOST FAMILY INFORMATION