2023 Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program Thailand

2023 Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program Thailand

Information for Applicants

Application Deadline: Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Secondary school students from Thailand are invited to apply for participation in the Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP), which will take place from April 7 to 28, 2023.  The program will host 60 participants from ten countries in Southeast Asia that are members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).  There will be five students selected to represent Thailand.

The program will feature interactive workshops and sessions, including site visits to community organizations.  Through engagement with U.S. high schools, community organizations, youth groups, and community leaders, student and adult mentor participants will explore challenges 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 three-week U.S.-based exchange program that will offer students and their adult mentor the opportunity to explore the principles of leadership and community activism in the United States*; and
(3) follow-on activities related to participants conducting 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 focuses on leadership and youth development.  It will also allow participants 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 skills-building (through the exchange’s project development), and socio-cultural leadership (through hands-on activities, workshops, seminars, and site visits to foster greater communication).  Participants will develop projects to address the needs of their communities upon their return home.  Preference will be given to participants who have not traveled to the United States.

*Note:  All selected candidates are required to be fully vaccinated for the in-person program in the United States.

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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.

The 2023 SEAYLP will emphasize ASEAN identity by organizing into multi-country teams to enhance cross-cultural experience wherever possible across the country cohorts. Exchange activities in the United States will include workshops, interactive sessions, diplomacy simulations, leadership training, and team-building exercises.  Extracurricular activities round out the program with volunteer service opportunities as well as site visits with relevant organizations in host communities.  All participants will have homestays with American families and study tours to Chicago, IL, and Washington, D.C.

An important part of the program is the students’ development and implementation of projects upon their 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?

Covered Expenses: If you are selected for the program, the United States government, in conjunction with Northern Illinois University (NIU), will pay for domestic transportation, international transportation to and from the United States, alumni activities, lodging, stipends, in-country program related expenses (including domestic travel for visa interviews and/pr pre-departure orientation), in-country lodging and expenses, and accident and sickness coverage.

Personal Expenses: 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.

Visas: 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 and studying in Thailand (applicants with dual U.S. citizenship will not be considered);
  • Be born between April 1, 2006 to April 1, 2008
  • Be a high school student and have a high school graduation year of 2024 or later;
  • Have proficiency in English;
  • Have not traveled to the United States
  • Have permission from both parent(s)/guardian(s) and schools to participate in the entire program.

What are the criteria for selection?

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

  • Have strong academic and social skills, leadership potential, an interest in or a commitment to civic action and community service;
  • Be initiative, have good communication, and an energetic, positive attitude;
  • Possess the ability to work cooperatively in a team and tolerate the opinions of others;

How do I apply?

Complete an application form along with two letters of recommendation (one from an English teacher, and the other from subject teacher and/or school official), and your most recent transcript, by filling out the application form at https://forms.gle/9jew3CkecWzNVBE37

Your complete package must be received by midnight of Wednesday, November 30, 2022.  Submission via Google form 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. We do not accept applications submitted by hand.

Based on the criteria above, as demonstrated in the application, only shortlisted applicants will be contacted by the Media and Cultural Section for interviews.  Interviews will take place on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at the Media and Cultural Section, U.S. Embassy, Bangkok.  Shortlisted candidates must be able to travel to the interview site.  We will notify the candidates of the details of the interview before the interview date. The list of finalists and alternates will be announced in March 2023.

Questions should be addressed to: Usawadee@fan.gov with the subject line “SEAYLP 2023_Questions”

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!