Internships in DC payoff for Asian youth

Updated: 2013-12-02 07:58

(China Daily USA)

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Internships in DC payoff for Asian youth

Wang Ruoyu, 2010 participant of Young Ambassador program of the International Leaders Foundation (ILF), who is now a master student in Columbia University, talks to Wang Iping, ILF's national adviser in New York at a press event held by ILF on Nov 30 at the Queens Crossing Gallery in New York. [Photo by Wan Li/China Daily]

The Young Ambassador program offers outstanding students from Asia field trips and lectures in Washington and the Northeast. "It was a wonderful experience which made me who I am today,"said Wang.

"Mentoring aspiring young people is exciting and it doesn't have a formula. In many cases, listening attentively, suggesting ways I would handle certain life challenges, rationales for making certain decisions, and opening doors for them,"said Stanley Jin, a financial services professional with 19 years experience on Wall Street, who advises the ILF program. "Quite often students not only benefit from consultation and mentorship, they also uncover potential and gain fresh perspectives."

"ILF has a stellar record of advocating for increased civic engagement and public service from the Asian Pacific American community,"said Chiling Tong, ILF’s chief executive officer. "We need a greater representation of our community in government, and ILF’s goal is to train our young generation to be successful leaders in their chosen fields and raise our community’s profile."

US Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York City, who represents the borough of Queens, which has a high concentration of Chinese-Americans, said, "People always ask me how can we have more younger Asian Americans run for office or work in the government. I always tell them that it doesn't start in their 30s or 40s, it starts when they are in high school or college. They need to have that exposure."

In a White House greeting letter to the International Leadership Foundation Annual Awards Gala, US President Barack Obama wrote, "For centuries, America’s story has been tied to the Pacific. Generations of brave men and women have crossed this vast ocean seeking better opportunities and fortifying our nation."

Still, Grace Meng pointed out, Asian Americans are under-represented.

"Of our Congress’ 435 members, only 11 are Asian American,"Meng said. "So there is a lot more that needs to be done."

The ILF said that applications for 2014 Civic Fellowship Program were now being accepted.

Students who win the fellowship attend weekly leadership seminars on Capitol Hill and gain valuable, firsthand working knowledge of the American government system. Fellows receive a stipend of $2,000 and are responsible for their own travel, housing and living expenses.

Wan Li contributed to this report

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