Summer Experience: Young Leaders Institute
At 8 a.m., an early summer start for some, a mass of well-dressed figures could be made out from outside the building if one looked carefully enough. At the top floor of the Asia Society Center of Texas, and through the pristine glass walls, stands the presenters for the last session of the Young Leaders Institute. In the three weeks I spent at these seminars, it never fails to impress me what a wonderful opportunity it has been.
The Young Leaders Institute began, first, as a one-week program in the summer of 2015. From its humble origins, the Institute has always aimed to push its students further in leadership and diplomacy. Since then, it has expanded further, covering a variety of global topics in three separate sessions: US-China Relations, Middle Eastern Studies, and Energy and Security.
Each session, a week-long, brought along numerous case studies and respective professionals in each topic. Diplomats from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China, journalists who had traveled to the locations in question, and top experts in their field: all of whom spoke of their experiences in the vast world around us, giving us a wider frame of understanding on particularly controversial topics.
I had first heard about YLI (Young Leaders Institute) through an email newsletter from my school’s counselor for summer programs. Underneath volunteering at St. Joseph’s hospital and interning for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s campaign, YLI caught my eye almost immediately. The prospect of getting a background glimpse of the major news stories I had heard all about in the news and media was an offer too intriguing for me to pass up. Throwing caution to the wind, I applied, signing up for all three sessions, effectively committing three weeks of sweet summer.
Looking back, that was possibly one of the smartest decisions I have made this summer. In those simple three weeks, I got to meet a group of amazing people with my similar interests in politics and was given the opportunity to build ideas and solutions to real-world problems with other from students across the Greater Houston area At the very end of it all, I learned not only the inner workings of diplomacy, but also the mind of people, through stories of passion, struggle and commitment.
Young Leaders Institute has taught me how to be a better scholar, and indeed, a leader, and I look forward to entering my sophomore year at Carnegie Vanguard High School with those lessons in hand.
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