2020 Young Leaders Institute: COVID-19: Reflections and New RealitiesVIEW EVENT DETAILS
In a world more interconnected than ever before, leaders need to be well-prepared with the right knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors to be successful. Asia Society's Young Leaders Institute (YLI) is a week-long summer program for high school students aimed at promoting global competence as well as leadership skills.
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty, this summer's Young Leaders Institute is moving online! Learn more about what that means. Read the FAQs »
Throughout the week, students will engage in the four tenets of global competency: investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action. They will learn about the global policy issues of the day from expert speakers — from Houston and around the country — then work in teams researching, debating, and presenting solutions for the challenges facing the world. Students will hone their critical research, writing, and presentation skills while receiving guidance and feedback from Asia Society staff and online mentors. On the Institute's final day, student groups will present their policy recommendations developed from all they have learned throughout the week.
Since launching in 2016, the Young Leaders Institute has provided new perspectives and strengthened skills for more than 200 students. The Institute's fifth year has broadened each session from a country-specific focus to highlight current, timely issues.
Topics discussed during the COVID-19: Reflections and New Realities session may include the following (subject to change):
- The origins and transmissions of COVID-19, and how pandemics spread in a globalized world
- The role of multilateral partnerships in tackling a worldwide pandemic, particularly between China and the U.S.
- Economic and financial impacts of lockdowns in specific sectors as well as more broadly
- How Houston prepared and reacted to the pandemic
- Mental health and social disruption in the age of coronavirus
- The role of technology in treating or tracing COVID-19 cases
- Misinformation and the dangers it can pose
- Rise of xenophobia and racist incidents
- Impact on international students, businesses, and other cross-border exchange
Speakers will be announced soon. For questions, please email TXYLI@asiasociety.org.
"What I realized was, these are all students [who] have a similar interest as you, which is why they're in the same session as you are. And really everybody around you is really invested into helping you grow as both a person and a student." — Tina Li, Carnegie Vanguard High School, 2019 YLI alumna
"No matter what job you choose to have or what you choose to major in college, leadership skills and collaboration skills are necessary in all areas of life. So whether you choose to become a political science major and work with other countries, or if you choose to do something in the U.S., the skills that you've learned from [YLI] will doubtlessly help you." — Pranav Brahmbhatt, Challenge Early College High School, 2019 YLI alumnus
"The Young Leaders Institute offered me the opportunity to work with people of different backgrounds, from different schools and different grade levels. These people taught me how to look at different perspectives, especially since they all had their own information." — James Li, Bellaire High School, 2019 YLI alumnus
"I came in expecting to learn from my peers. I left not only having done that but also having learned from prestigious individuals in this field that I would never have had a chance to meet otherwise." — Chloe Jin, The Woodlands High School, 2019 YLI alumna
"For me as a leader, this actually gave me the tools to use in my own personal projects that I'm doing right now. The Young Leaders Institute really empowered me on multiple planes, and really helped me become a better person in a number of different ways. [...] If anyone ever wanted to join the Young Leaders Institute, I would tell them that they have the right idea and they should definitely go ahead and do it because they are going to gain so much out of it. And there's really no better place to be over the summer than here at the Asia Society." — Norah Rami, Clements High School, 2019 YLI alumna
"I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the presentations, and all three of us remarked at how impressed we were with the quality of information dissemination on very specific topics in such a short timeframe. I think this is a signature series for Asia Society Texas Center and one that should only gain traction in summers to come." — 2019 YLI presentation judge
"I felt proud about the fact that Asia Society Texas Center is engaged in encouraging high school students to develop necessary leadership skills to face the real world. This is particularly true recognizing that they are going to be our future leaders." — 2019 YLI presentation judge
About the Speakers
David J. Firestein is the inaugural president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. He is based in Austin, Texas. Prior to this, he was the inaugural executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and a clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As CPPC chief, Mr. Firestein led UT’s institutional engagement with China and oversaw innovative interdisciplinary research on China-related domestic and foreign policy topics.
Before joining UT, Mr. Firestein served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute; there, he led the Institute’s work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations.
A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Mr. Firestein specialized primarily in China and U.S.-China relations. He is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published Chinese-language best-sellers. Mr. Firestein speaks Chinese at the near-native level.
Throughout his career, Mr. Firestein has played an active role advancing U.S.-China and U.S.-Asia trade. He has also produced path-breaking thought leadership, scholarship and Capitol Hill testimony on a range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China infrastructure investment cooperation and the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict today. He was also a principal architect of the U.S.-China High-Level Political Party Leaders Dialogue.
Mr. Firestein currently serves on the boards of directors/advisors of about a dozen Texas-focused, China-focused, foreign affairs-focused and business-focused U.S. non-profit entities. Of particular note, he is a founding director of the United States China Heartland Association (USHCA); an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Business (TAB) – Texas’ powerful chamber of commerce – where Firestein is the Board-level leader responsible for TAB’s China initiatives; and a member of the UT LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Dean’s Advisory Council.
Since 2006, Mr. Firestein has served as a member of the graduate faculty of the University of Texas at Austin for a total of four years, most recently, during the 2017-2019 academic years. A native of Austin, Firestein holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and two master’s degrees from The University of Texas.
With more than 25 years in corporate America, Vani Rao is a mindset coach helping individuals to align their purpose with their career. She has worked in the energy industry with roles in projects & engineering, continuous improvement, planning and capability. She specializes in helping companies increase profitability through their diversity and inclusion programs and by empowering underrepresented groups to use their voices.
Vani received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Austin College and MBA from Columbia University. She is certified in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, Mental and Emotional Release (MERTM), project management (PMP) and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
With a lifelong love for Indian performing arts and political economy, Vani is a classically trained dancer in Kuchipudi and has been actively involved with the National Model United Nations. She is also a 2012 APAWLI (Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute) Fellow, a signature leadership program for APA women. She serves on the advisory board for Asia Society Texas Center’s Women’sLeadership Series. Her current passion is supporting charitable organizations in the U.S. and India focused on providing educational opportunities for children.
Gordon Shen is an Assistant Professor of Health Care Management at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. He is a member of the Management, Policy, and Community Health Department and an affiliate faculty of the George McMillan Fleming Center of Healthcare Management. Prior to joining UTHealth in 2019, Dr. Shen was an Assistant Professor at City University of New York (Brooklyn College, 2015-2016; Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, 2016-2018). His research agenda is broadly focused on managerial innovations, particularly ones that are introduced to health care organizations located in low- and middle-income countries. This entails a deep understanding of customization, culture, and context. His empirical examinations include deinstitutionalization of mental health care globally, hospital management in China, and kaizen adoption by the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation. Across cases, he offers theoretical explanations drawn from organizational theory and international development. Dr. Shen holds a B.S. in psychobiology and public health (2005, University of California, Los Angeles), a S.M. in epidemiology (2007, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), and a Ph.D. in health services and policy analysis (2013, University of California, Berkeley). He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Public Health in 2014.
Chris Tomlinson is a Business Columnist with The Houston Chronicle, where he has written commentary on business, energy, and economics since 2014. Before joining the Chronicle, he spent 20 years with The Associated Press reporting on politics, conflicts, and economics from more than 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Tomlinson Hill, and he produced the award-winning documentary film by the same name. Both examine the history and consequences of race, politics, and economics in Texas.
Session 1: Energy and the Environment
Monday – Friday, July 13–17, 2020
Learn about the business of energy and growing demand in Asia, including the future of renewable fuels and intersections with sustainability goals in light of environmental and climate change concerns.
Session 2: Food Security
Monday – Friday, July 27–31, 2020
Explore the challenges presented by food insecurity in Asia and Houston, the driving actors behind the issue, who is most impacted, and solutions for access and education.
Education and Outreach programs at Asia Society Texas Center are made possible through generous funding from BP America and the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation. Additional support is provided by Friends of Asia Society Texas Center, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing the best in exhibitions and public programming to Houston.
For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/texas/events/2020-young-leaders-institute-covid-19-reflections-and-new-realities For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/texas/events/2020-young-leaders-institute-covid-19-reflections-and-new-realities