2018 Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program Thailand

Information for Applicants

Application Deadline: Thursday, January 25, 2018

Program Description: Secondary school students from Thailand are invited to apply for participation in the Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP) which will take place in April 2018. The program will host 50 to 60 participants from countries in Southeast Asia that are members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). There will be 5 students and 1 adult mentor selected to represent Thailand.

The program will employ a highly interactive approach both in workshops and in a range of public and community settings.  Through engagement with U.S. high schools, community organizations, youth groups, and community leaders, student and adult mentor participants will evaluate challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. and ASEAN in the 21st century.

This is an intensive program with three segments: (1) A pre-departure orientation in Bangkok; (2) a 25-day exchange program that will offer students and their adult mentors the opportunity to explore the principles of leadership and community activism in the United States; and (3) follow-on activities, where participants will conduct projects in their home communities.  The program will be intensive, academic, and highly interactive. The program sponsors seek energetic applicants who are ready to develop their skills in order to be effective leaders in their schools and communities. 

The program convenes high school students and adult mentors from the ten ASEAN member countries for a three-week U.S.-based exchange program focused on leadership and youth development, to explore shared challenges faced by the United States and ASEAN member countries. These challenges are explored through the three pillars of the ASEAN community: political and security cooperation, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural cooperation. Participants will develop concrete skills in project development, communication, and leadership while engaging in hands-on activities, workshops, seminars, and site visits.

Participants will also develop projects to address the needs of their communities upon their return home.
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This program is designed to promote high-quality leadership, civic responsibility, and civic activism among our countries’ future leaders. It will offer a practical examination of the principles of democracy and civil society as practiced in the United States and provide participants with training that allows them to develop their leadership skills.

Northern Illinois University (NIU) – the U.S.-based implementing partner – will put the participants into multi-country teams to enhance broad engagement among all countries.  U.S exchange activities will include workshops, interactive sessions, diplomacy simulations, leadership training, and team-building exercises.  Extracurricular activities including volunteer service opportunities and interactive site visits with relevant organizations in host communities will round out the program.  Adult mentors will have special sessions with adult peers, designed to help foster leadership and civic education programs when they return home.  Participants will have homestays with American families and side study tours to Chicago, Illinois and to Washington, D.C.

An important part of the program is the development of projects to implement on students’ return home. These projects will respond to a need in their schools or communities. Examples include supporting student government or other means of student involvement in the decision making process in schools, producing visual materials that share information on social issues, developing peer-support or peer-mediation programs or workshops, cooperating with local NGOs trying to develop a spirit of volunteerism, or supporting activities that help increase media coverage of youth issues. All participants will be expected to complete these follow-on projects.

 What else do I need to know?

If you are selected for the program, the United States Government, in conjunction with its private partners, will pay for domestic transportation, international transportation to and from the United States, orientations, program fees and administration, site visits and seminars, lodging and most meals, some cultural activities, educational materials, accident and sickness coverage, and a modest amount of pocket money. Participants will stay with volunteer host families.

Participants are responsible for expenses related to the application process (copying, mailing, photographs, etc.), passport fees, and spending money for souvenirs, telephone calls, and other personal items in the United States.

Participants will travel to the United States on J-1 exchange visitor visas provided through this program. By accepting this visa, participants will be subject to a two-year home residency requirement, meaning they must return to and live in their home country for a total of two years before they would be eligible for an immigrant or temporary worker U.S. visa. This does not restrict other types of visas, however, so this would not prevent you from being able to apply for a student visa to attend university, for example.

Who is eligible to apply?

Student applicants must…..

  • Be a Thai citizen currently residing in Thailand (applicants with dual U.S. citizenship will not be considered);
  • Be born between April 5, 2001 and April 5, 2003;
  • Have proficiency in English;
  • Have a high school graduation year of 2018 or later;
  • Have permission from both parents/guardian(s) and school to participate in the entire program.

What are the criteria for selection?

Students will be evaluated on their ability to demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Good academic performance, leadership potential, an interest in and commitment to civic action and community service;
  • Initiative, good communication, and an energetic, positive attitude;
  • Possess the ability to work cooperatively in a team and tolerate the opinions of others;
  • Have permission from a parent or legal guardian to participate in the program.

How do I apply?

Complete an application form (PDF 212KB) along with two letters of recommendation (one from an English teacher or tutor, and the other from another teacher and/or school official), and your most recent transcript, and submit your complete package to the Media and Cultural Section of the U.S. Embassy Bangkok via email:

BangkokPD@state.gov with the subject line of “SEAYLP_Your Full Name”.

Alternatively, you can submit your application via post to the following address:

Media and Cultural Section (2018 Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program)
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
95 Wireless Road
Lumpini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330

Please note that we do not accept applications submitted by hand.

Take special care in answering the essay questions. Your complete application package must be received by Thursday, January 25, 2018. Submission via email or post will automatically log the date and time an application submission is made. The U.S. Embassy will use this information to determine whether an application has been submitted on time. Late applications are neither reviewed nor considered.

Only the shortlisted applicants will be contacted by the Media and Cultural Section for interviews based on the criteria above, as demonstrated in the application. Interviews will take place on Monday, February 5, 2018 from 8:00 A.M.-3:00 P.M. Selected candidates must be able to travel to the interview site, and will be notified of the details before the interview.

The list of finalists and alternates will be announced on Monday, February 12, 2018. 

Questions should be addressed to: BangkokPD@state.gov with the subject line “SEAYLP”

And after that…?

Selected participants will receive orientation materials in the weeks prior to the start of the program to help prepare them for the program and their trip to the United States.

A pre-departure orientation and training sessions with both students and the adult mentor will take place in the month prior to departure. Participants and their families will have an opportunity to speak with the Media and Cultural Section about the project at that time.

After their return home and through the following months, participants will be responsible for completing their follow-on projects.

Thank you for your interest in the program and good luck with your applications!