2021 Young Leaders Institute: U.S.–China RelationsVIEW EVENT DETAILS
2021 Summer Youth Programs
In a world more globally connected 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 that promotes global competence, elevates leadership skills, and connects students from across diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Since launching in 2016, the Young Leaders Institute has provided new perspectives and strengthened skills for over 300 students. The Institute's sixth year explores some of the most timely, relevant global issues for young leaders facing a world transformed by COVID-19.
What skills will students learn from the Young Leaders Institute?
During the Institute, students will engage in the four tenets of global competence, as defined by the Asia Society Center for Global Education: investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action.
Throughout the week, students will deepen their knowledge of the global policy issues of the day, then work in teams to research and develop solutions for challenges facing the world. In their groups, students will practice their communication and collaboration skills, strengthen their written and oral presentation skills for the future, and engage respectfully and thoughtfully with peers to expand their views and understanding of the world.
In addition, students will have the opportunity to learn new approaches to leadership and practice the different skills demanded of leaders — not only taking initiative but also collaboration, empathy, and overcoming differences.
What activities should students expect during the Institute?
During the Institute, students will hear lectures from experts in the field, engage in team-building or leadership activities, and work in groups to research, debate, and present policy solutions for challenges facing the world. While students will be provided time to work during the session, some work outside of Institute hours will be expected.
On the Institute's final day, student groups will present their policy recommendations developed from all they have learned throughout the week before a panel of impartial judges. A top group will be selected and honored for their policy presentation. Students will be mentored throughout the week by Asia Society staff, receiving feedback on guidance on topics, teamwork, and presentation skills.
Session 1: U.S.–China Relations
Schedule: Monday, June 21 – Friday, June 25, 2021; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CT Daily
Place: This session will take place virtually via Zoom
Students accepted for this session will receive an email approximately one week before the start date with an informational packet and a Zoom link.
What topics might be discussed during the U.S.–China Relations session?
- The enmeshment of U.S. and Chinese economies through trade
- The impact of the trade war on each country, as well as on the broader global economy
- How technology and intellectual property competition affect business
- U.S. response to China's role in regional security in Southeast Asia
- How the Trump administration changed the U.S.–China relationship, and how the Biden administration will move forward
- The role of soft power including student and cultural exchange
- Opportunities for collaboration such as on global health
- How COVID-19 impacted the bilateral relationship
- The role of political dissidence and human rights
About the Speakers
David J. Firestein is the inaugural president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. Previously, Firestein was the founding executive director of The University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center and a clinical professor at UT’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Before moving to UT, he served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the EastWest Institute, where he led the Institute’s Track 2 diplomacy work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations. From 1992–2010, Firestein was a decorated career U.S. diplomat, specializing primarily in U.S.-China relations.
Firestein serves on over a dozen U.S. nonprofit boards of directors and advisors. Among other roles, he is a member of the board of directors of the Texas Association of Business, a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition's Texas Advisory Committee, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
A native and current resident of Austin, Texas, he holds degrees from Georgetown University and The University of Texas at Austin.
Sonia Garza-Monarchi is a leading expert in the specialized world of protocol and diplomacy. She started her company Garza Protocol Associates in 2004 after working 16 years with the City of Houston’s protocol office in various positions and serving as the chief of protocol for ten years. She helped coordinate over 2000 visits, events, and meetings, from Queen Elizabeth II to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, President Putin, and the Economic Summit. Ms. Garza-Monarchi has advised hundreds of government officials and corporate leaders on matters of protocol, diplomacy and cross-cultural issues. Her small business specializes in creating customized solutions for her clients including several Fortune 500 corporations. Project highlights include: coordinating the visit of a chief of state and the ceremonial opening of a consulate in two weeks’ time; overseeing the protocol aspects of a gala dinner for 300 business leaders, ministers of energy and ambassadors in Barcelona; training medical professionals on cross-cultural issues to make them more effective when dealing with international patients and spearheading Houston’s Latin Grammy host committee. Ms. Garza-Monarchi believes that better understanding of people’s cultures leads to better business and a better world. With her help Garza Protocol’s clients apply key protocol, diplomatic, and cross-cultural skills that lead to long-term success in today’s global economy. She serves as a trustee on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and is on the advisory board of the Asia Society Texas Center.
Yingyi Ma is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Asian/Asian American Studies. She is currently the Provost Faculty Fellow on internationalization at Syracuse University. In 2019, she was selected as a Public Intellectual Fellow at the National Committee on US-China Relations. She is an award-winning author, and most recently, her new book Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education was published by Columbia University Press.
Jon Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas San Antonio. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma. His areas of academic specialty are in Chinese politics and public policy, Chinese and U.S. urban politics and urbanization, and comparative public sector ethics. His current research focuses on urban development in Western China, China’s national urbanization plan, the Communist Party’s online accountability system, provincial-level public corruption in China, and the role that indigenous Chinese political science plays within the global discipline. As a native Texan, he also has an academic and personal interest in both Texas and San Antonio politics and government. He regularly contributes opinion and analysis pieces to both Chinese and U.S. media.
“I would definitely recommend the Young Leaders Institute to friends. YLI offers such a unique opportunity to hear from speakers on subject matters that interest you, and you get to engage in conversations you really can't have elsewhere. It's a great way to spend your summer and grow as a leader.” — Arfa Momin, Stephen F. Austin High School, YLI 2020
“I loved hearing from the expert speakers and working with different groups each week. I, especially, enjoyed the diversity of high schoolers in the makeup of our groups. The inclusion and sharing of different ideas expanded my knowledge and skills that I know will serve me well.” — Anna Lyons, Clear Lake High School, YLI 2020
“[The most important thing I learned from YLI is] that there are things we can do as young adults to solve issues happening in the world right now.” — Biruk Gizaw, Westside High School, YLI 2020
“I would definitely recommend YLI to my friends since it helped me grow not only as a leader, but as a team member as well.” — Emmy Li, Clear Lake High School, YLI 2020
“It’s been very fun working with three groups and I have learned so much. Working with each group taught me a lesson about teamwork that I will carry on to future ambitions and am glad I did this program. I look forward to doing this next year as I feel I will only improve as time progresses working in these kinds of environments.” — Shaan Singh, Awty International School, YLI 2020
“I enjoyed learning about the wide range of topics this year’s sessions had to offer, and I really appreciate the organization and thoughtfulness of the program.” — Niels Levy-Thiebaut, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, YLI 2020
Additional YLI Sessions
Session 2: Public Health
Monday, July 12 – Friday, July 16, 2021 | Virtual: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CT
Learn about the complex nature of public health, including the roles played by scientists and healthcare workers along with government officials, community leaders, media, and the public itself.
The application deadline has been extended to midnight on Monday, April 12, 2021.
Session 3: Social Justice and Civic Engagement
Monday, July 26 – Friday, July 30, 2021 | In-person only at Asia Society Texas Center: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT
Deepen your understanding of social and systemic inequities in Houston and across the country, while exploring the importance of civic engagement and active participation in finding solutions.
This session is full; applications are no longer accepted.
The Young Leaders Institute is presented by BP America and Chevron. Education and Outreach programs at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo. Generous funding also provided by Margie and Joe Blommaert, Cathay Bank Foundation, Chevron, the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, and H-E-B. 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.