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New Generation Seminar

The New Generation Seminar, now in its 26th year, is an intensive two-week study, dialogue and travel program that provides the next generation of Asia Pacific and American leaders an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of key regional issues, discuss policy options for common challenges and build an international network. The program is organized to provide a grounding in the big picture regional issues as well as a deeper understanding of a thematic focus, selected to reflect a timely and important challenge or trend that affects countries across the region. Participants spend one week at the East-West Center in Honolulu focusing on broad regional issues followed by one-week of study travel to two cities in Asia or the United States focused on the theme. Through 25 years of the East-West Center's two-week New Generation Seminar 368 rising regional leaders have broadened their vision, deepened their knowledge and internationalized their perspectives. Full list of New Gen leaders who are leading us to the future.

As a Senator, all of the information and ideas will color my opinion and my statements on any of Indonesia's problems. I now have “global perspectives” and “middle-class perspectives” in seeing and analyzing anything that matters to my country. Elnino M. Husein Mohi, Senator, House of Regional Representatives (Senate), Indonesia, NGS 2012

The content and structure were phenomenal. I learned more about Asia and world economic issues in two weeks than I thought was humanly possible…I will use everything I have learned in how I propose and formulate public policy as an elected official, as well as my public discourse on a daily basis.”  Chad Campbell, Minority Leader, Arizona House of Representatives, NGS 2011

This important leadership program is funded by the East-West Center and private donations, including by alumni who give back to the program. Active fund-raising is on-going to provide as many fully funded scholarships as possible. Help us continue to give the region's young leaders the skills, knowledge and relationships they need to lead in the 21st century.

Program Agenda

The New Generation Seminar provides rising leaders with an intensive learning experience through a unique combination of study, dialogue, leadership development and travel. The first week of the New Generation Seminar is held at the East-West Center in Honolulu and consists of briefings by EWC research staff on key regional developments such as security, international relations, economics, population, health and environment, as well as sessions directly related to the seminar theme. The Honolulu program also includes meetings with experienced leaders and policymakers, relevant field visits, and an opportunity for the participants to engage with each other in dialogue on issues of importance to their countries.

The second week of the program involves field travel to either the Asia Pacific region or the United States mainland to enhance participants’ knowledge of a specific theme. Field travel provides an opportunity for in-depth, first-hand perspectives of an issue through travel and meetings with policymakers, civil society and business leaders, students, analysts, experts, and others to gain strategic insights, best practices, and new understanding to apply to the challenges in their own countries and communities.

2016 New Generation Seminar

Dates: September 18-October 1, 2016

Theme: “Cultural Heritage and Identity in a Globalizing, Urbanizing World”

Destinations: Honolulu, Hawaii; Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Yangon, Myanmar

Application Deadline: Closed

Program Agenda

The New Generation Seminar provides rising leaders with an intensive learning experience through a unique combination of study, dialogue, leadership development and travel. The first week of the New Generation Seminar is held at the East-West Center in Honolulu and consists of briefings by EWC research staff on key regional developments such as security, international relations, economics, population, health and environment, as well as sessions directly related to the seminar theme. The Honolulu program also includes meetings with experienced leaders and policymakers, relevant field visits, and an opportunity for the participants to engage with each other in dialogue on issues of importance to their countries.

The second week of the program involves field travel to either the Asia Pacific region or the United States mainland to enhance participants’ knowledge of a specific theme. Field travel provides an opportunity for in-depth, first-hand perspectives of an issue through travel and meetings with policymakers, civil society and business leaders, students, analysts, experts, and others to gain strategic insights, best practices, and new understanding to apply to the challenges in their own countries and communities.

2016 Theme

Over the past 20 years, the increasing pressures of intensive urbanization, globalization and a trend toward modernization have been threatening cultural and architectural heritage around the world. In many urban areas, the legacy of the past is rapidly disappearing. In October 2016, global leaders will meet at the UN international Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III) to create a new urban agenda for the world, and, for the first time, issues of cultural heritage and its importance to cities will be part of the agenda. There is growing recognition that cultural heritage and architecture can be a key resource and asset for building sustainable, livable, and dynamic cities, with evidence that conserving unique heritage can bring significant economic value through tourism and creative industries. Beyond that, it also plays an important role in fostering national and local pride and a sense of identity for its residents. In communities across the world, but especially in rapidly modernizing and globalizing developing countries, government leaders and officials are expressing a strong interest in placing culture at the core of development strategies, to consider what is important to keep for future generations before it is lost forever. But doing this is not easy as leaders must also meet the enormous pressures to provide efficient infrastructure, housing, sanitation, commercial development and jobs for their communities. 

The 2016 NGS participants will explore the role of cultural heritage in economic development, urban planning, tourism, and in preserving and promoting a sense of local and national identity through meetings and visits with leaders and policymakers, private sector representatives, civil society organizations, academic experts and practitioners in Honolulu, Phnom Penh, and Yangon. Honolulu will provide an example of a US city struggling to preserve its local identity and culture in its tourism development and as it upgrades its aging infrastructure and revitalizes its urban core. Phnom Penh and Yangon represent common challenges in developing nations of rapid urbanization, a need for development and threats to preserving their urban culture, including both colonial and post-colonial architectural heritage. Both are at a critical juncture in their development strategies. Phnom Penh is on a rapid growth trajectory after many years of war and internal conflict; Yangon is emerging from decades of economic and social isolation with a new democratically elected government. All three cities must manage break-neck growth, provide infrastructure and services to growing populations, attract outside investment and industry, and manage burgeoning tourism, while trying to figure out how to maintain and preserve that which represents and can foster their sense of national identity, culture and place.

WHO CAN APPLY

The New Generation Seminar brings together 10-14 young leaders aged 25-40, from Asia Pacific and the United States. The program seeks to engage those in a position to influence policy, shape public opinion and lead action. An important selection consideration is demonstrated leadership in current and past positions, and the potential for future leadership. The program has targeted elected officials because of their direct role in policymaking, but also includes those who influence policy and public opinion through leadership in political parties, civil society organizations, business, law and the media. Past participants have included members of national Parliament or Congress, state or provincial government assemblies, or ministries; mayors and governors; city and county councilors; leaders in political parties and party youth wings; policy advisors; business and community leaders; entrepreneurs; and others.

The strongest candidates for the program will be:

  • Elected officials and other political, business and community leaders or communicators with broad-based policy knowledge and influence;
  • Working professionals in their mid-20s to late 30s;
  • Individuals with limited opportunity for international travel;
  • Fluent in English.

Candidates need not be specialists in the program themes; the program is geared toward policy makers and other leaders with broad-based policy knowledge, responsibility and influence who can benefit from learning about a range of Asia Pacific issues.

* Please note that scholarship funding is available only to Asia Pacific countries on this list. We welcome other applicants, but they would need to provide their own funding to participate. If you are interested in this option, please contact us and we can provide details about costs.

For a summary of the NGS program and who can apply, please download a copy of the 2-page 26th NGS Background Summary.

HOW TO APPLY

Participation in the New Generation Seminar is a competitive process. Nominations are received from a variety of U.S. and Asia Pacific organizations and qualified individuals are welcome to submit applications on their own. The applications and nominations are reviewed by an East-West Center Selection Committee, which makes the final selection of candidates.

To apply, please submit the following:

  • The Application Form (2-pages—cover sheet and statement of cost sharing): PDF version (Click to download. Please save a copy to your computer first before filling out or you may lose your data. You may type directly into this PDF document.  After completing, submit as an attachment with the rest of the required documents.)
  • A brief written statement about why you wish to participate in the 26th New Generation Seminar (not more than two typewritten double-spaced pages, please).  In responding please consider what you feel you can contribute to the program and what you hope to gain from participating given your current leadership positions/roles, especially with regard to this year’s program theme. 
  • One-paragraph professional biography summarizing your current work and highlighting your leadership experience and those aspects of your resume you think are most important for the selection committee.
  • Copy of resume to include professional and educational background.
    Resume or CV should clearly indicate years and type of education, title of position held, name of employer, dates spent at each position, and most importantly a brief outline of specific responsibilities or accomplishments in each position. (Maximum 3 pages please)
  • Two (2) letters of professional recommendation on official letterhead with current contact information for each person writing a recommendation.

For a printed summary of the application requirements, please download the Application Instructions.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Closed

You may send applications to: 

Ms. Ann Hartman, NGS Coordinator, at:

E-MAIL: ngs@eastwestcenter.org  

FAX: (808) 944-7600

POST: New Generation Seminar, East-West Seminars
East-West Center, 1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96848-1601, USA

For questions or confirmation of receipt, please contact:

Ms. Marilu Khudari, Program Secretary

TEL: (808) 944-7384

Ms. Sara Lam, Program Assistant

TEL: (808) 944-7727

We will confirm receipt of the application within 5 working days. If you do not hear back from us, please follow up.

Applications must be received at the East-West Center by the application deadline in order to be considered.

You will be notified of the results no later than July 12.

Please note that an interview may be conducted as part of the selection process.

2015 New Generation Seminar

The 2015 New Generation Seminar took place September 13-27 with travel to Delhi and Mumbai on the theme "Rising India: Shifting Regional Power Dynamics, Meeting Domestic Challenges"

2015 New Generation participants with program coordinator Ann Hartman, right.

Fourteen young leaders from eleven different countries gathered in Honolulu for one week of sessions with East-West Center and local experts on key issues and trends in the Asia Pacific region. Topics included: security and strategic shifts with China's rise; environmental challenges in an age of climate change; state of governance and democracy in the region; demographic changes and implications of population aging; and economic integration and trade. Participants visited United States Pacific Command for US military perspectives on security issues in the region and the role of the US in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. Sessions by experts at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu provided perspectives on South Asian regional dynamics and India's role, and India's relationship with China and its potential impact on regional affairs. Participants also learned about the region and gained inspiration from one another through 30-minute presentations by each participant on his or her work to address a key issue in his or her country or community. These snapshots from 14 communities as different and distant as Kansas, Nepal and Fiji offered unique insight about the region and opportunities to see common challenges and discuss solutions.

After one week in Honolulu, participants traveled together to Delhi and Mumbai, India. India is on the rise. Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisions the coming decades as “India’s century.” By 2030, it is expected that India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country, with a large percentage of youth. In 2014, India recorded a higher economic growth rate than China. India’s “Act East” policy sees India taking a larger role in East and Southeast Asia on all fronts—economically, diplomatically and militarily—and President Obama’s New Delhi visit at the start of 2015 marked the increasing importance of the US-India relationship to both nations. With a robust democracy and a new government embarking on economic and social reforms, India seems poised to rise as a regional and global power. However, like many countries in the Asia Pacific region, India has significant challenges to overcome to ensure a stable economic growth trajectory and provide shared prosperity. In addition to economic and market reforms, India must address the need for infrastructure and basic services such as health, sanitation, energy and housing; ensure education for its growing workforce; and bridge gaping inequality. It will need to provide quality jobs and manage an increasingly rapid rural-to-urban transition. In addition, growing middle classes are demanding more accountability, especially for environmental management and livability of burgeoning urban areas. 

From top: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejwiral;
Mumbai Chief Minister and NGS Alumnus Devendra Fadnavis;
Anil Wadhwa, Secretary East, Ministry of External Affairs;
BJP Spokesman and NGS Alumnus Nalin Kohli; and
Jockin Arputham, Founder, Slum Dwellers International

The 25th anniversary of the New Generation Seminar marked the program’s historic first visit to India, highlighting the country’s growing economy and rising role in Asia Pacific regional affairs. Travel to Delhi and Mumbai provided the young leaders an opportunity to better understand this growing power and explore its potential impact on strategic, economic and political dynamics in the Asia Pacific region. Participants met with experts and analysts, political party leaders, government officials, women leaders, the business community and civil society innovators to hear India's vision for its role in Asia Pacific and how the country is addressing key development issues at home, especially in areas such as inequality, urban-rural divides, slum dwellers, sanitation, water, health, livelihoods and basic services. They heard about Prime Minister Modi and the ruling BJP's ambitious agenda through meetings with NGS alumni National Spokesman Nalin Kolhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The Secretary for Asia Policy at the Ministry of External Affairs put concrete contours on the Act East vision with an outline of the many social, cultural, economic and outreach efforts India is undertaking in the Asia Pacific region. The participants learned about the newly-elected Delhi Chief Minister, former anti-curruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal's vision for a "people's government" that would meet the needs of citizens in Delhi. Engagements with Congress-party representatives highlighted India's robust democracy with yet another perspective on how to promote equitable and inclusive development in India.

Aside from new government initiatives, participants learned from India’s vibrant civil society and technology sectors, which are pioneering innovative ways to address development challenges that can be models for countries around the world. A tour of Asia's largest slum in Dharavi showed the extent and complexity of the challenges facing India, while also demonstrating the resilience, dynamism and industriousness of the people in creating diverse, productive industries within the densely populated slum. Out of such extensive need comes resourcefulness and invention as evidenced by an inpirational meeting with internationally recognized Jockin Arputham, founder and director of Slum Dwellers International who has brought voice, dignity and hope to slum dwellers in Dharavi, throughout India and around the world. They also got to meet the next generation of social innovators in a panel forum of leaders applying India's tech prowess to solving social challenges from the bottom up. They heard about Sarvajal's system of bringing water to the last mile in remote rural areas and underserved urban populations; Waste Venture's unique model for providing employment for the poor as waste collectors to solve sanitation issues, and Hand in Hand's microfinance and livelihood projects that have created over 20 million jobs in India and whose model is now being exported to countries around the world.  

The participants also gained an appreciation of India's rich history and culture both old and new, from a traditional Kuchipudi dance performance to a discussion with a Bollywood producer and through visits to the Taj Mahal and Gandhi Smriti museum. 

2015 New Generation participants

The 2015 New Generation Seminar brought together 14 young leaders aged 25-40, from Asia Pacific and the United States. The program seeks to engage those in a position to influence policy, shape public opinion and lead action. The dynamic 2015 New Generation Seminar young leaders were:

  • Mr. Francisco Ashley ACEDILLO, Congressman, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Philippines
  • Mr. Christopher BISHOP, Member of Parliament, New Zealand Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Ms. Caroline CASAGRANDE, Assemblywoman, New Jersey General Assembly, Freehold, New Jersey, United States
  • Ms. Kanan DHRU, Founder and Managing Director, Research Foundation for Governance in India, Ahmedabad, India
  • Ms. Melanie JACKSON, City Council Member, City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
  • Mr. Jeffrey KING, Vice President of the Kansas Senate, State of Kansas, Topeka, Kansas, United States
  • Ms. LI Qingyan, Assistant Research Fellow, China Institute of International Studies, Beijing, China
  • Mr. NGUYEN Quoc Truong, Director, Department of International Studies, Vietnam Institute of Development Strategy, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnam
  • Mr. Sohaib SAEED, President, Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) Chamber of Commerce, Mirpur, Pakistan
  • Mr. Thapa UJWAL, President, Bibeksheel Nepali, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Ms. Nihayatul WAFIROH, Member of Parliament, The House of Representatives, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Mr. Peter WAQAVONOVONO, Research and Policy Advisor, Social Democratic Liberal Party Opposition Office, Suva , Fiji
  • Ms. Faith WINTER, State Representative, State of Colorado, and Executive Director, Emerge Colorado, Denver, United States
  • Ms. Rosalind Tai Ming WONG, Head of Conference Division, Sarawak Development Institute, Kuching, Malaysia
     
The Program

New Zealand MP Moana Mackey at a high-tech high school in Shanghai (2007 NGS).This intensive two-week shared study, dialogue and travel program provides the next generation of Asia Pacific and American leaders an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of key regional issues, discuss policy options for common challenges and build relationships upon which to draw as they rise in their leadership positions.

The program is organized to provide a grounding in the big picture regional issues as well as a deeper understanding of a thematic focus, selected to reflect a timely and important challenge or trend that affects countries across the region.

Participants spend one week at the East-West Center in Honolulu focusing on broad regional issues followed by one-week of study travel to two cities in Asia or the United States focusing on the program theme.

"I found the relationships that were formed amongst my fellow participants to be of great value. To now have established working relationships with people who are emerging as the next generation of leaders in their respective countries is astounding. It would come as no surprise to one day find myself sitting at the table with any one of these people negotiating treaties, discussing investment opportunities, or working to solve seemingly intractable issues. To think how much more might be accomplished because of the groundwork laid by this program is motivating." American participant, 2008 NGS

Unique program design

Combination of lecture/discussion in a seminar setting with an experiential travel experience allows for substantive new knowledge inputs and dialogue among participants, as well as first-hand on the ground perspectives.

East-West Center experts guide program content and accompany groups to facilitate learning.

Asian and American participants all travel together adding a rich dimension to the program as discussions are informed by the perspectives of each country represented in the program, and allowing for the establishment of life-long friendships.

The ability to process new knowledge within our diverse group of Americans and Asians was a gift. I would not have had the same experience – nor the same learning – had we been a group of Americans alone. American participant, 2013 NGS

Program Elements

Expert-led sessions in Honolulu and engagement with the Honolulu community

East-West Center and Honolulu-based experts share analysis of regional trends such as population aging, shifting strategic and security dynamics, energy supply and demand, economic interdependence, China's rise, innovation networks, changing family and social structures, and impacts of land-use and climate change. Presentations are policy oriented with a focus on the implications of these trends for policymakers. Participants visit relevant local leaders and institutions, such as U.S. Pacific Command.

Participant presentations to one another

In 30-minute participant-led sessions, the group learns about the issues facing countries across the region and how their colleagues are addressing them. They discover common challenges such as rural poverty, industrial decline, the need for pension reform, lack of affordable and available housing, political and bureaucratic inefficiency and effectiveness, and managing ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity, and share solutions. Participants find new perspectives on their local issues and new ideas for solving old problems.

Study travel organized around a specific theme

Participants meet and discuss Korea’s foreign and national security policy.An intensive study and travel experience provides young leaders with an opportunity contextualize the theme by seeing how it is playing out in reality. Participants visit two countries in either Asia Pacific or the United States to provide a comparative view of the issue or to explore both local and national implications. For example, the 2012 program on middle class challenges visited first Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an American city that has faced signficant industrial decline, to talk with workers, unions officials, businesses, and educators at technical and vocational colleges about the realities for these communities that have lost jobs and economic security. They then traveled to Washington, DC to put what they saw and heard into the national and global context, and to understand how policymakers are addressing these issues. The 2010 program on regional security and the US role visited Okinawa, Tokyo and Seoul for a comparative look at how the US role is viewed by communities with different stakes and security needs.

“I got real stories, comparative examples and positions/solutions that I can introduce to the Nevada system…I have been a part of several other exchange/travel study programs and would have to say that this EWC program is by FAR the MOST THOROUGH. I’m very, very impressed!” State Legislator, Nevada, USA, 2007 NGS

"It is hard to say which part of the program is most useful. I think the essence of the program is its model as a whole. The participants are multinational with different career and professional backgrounds. The combination of lectures and study tours gives the participants both a general picture and case study of the regional issues. All these make the program very unique and effective.”  Chinese participant, 2010 NGS

2014 Program: The Realities of a Changing Climate: Meeting the Challenge

2013 Program: Economic and Social Transformation in Asia Pacific

2012 Program: The Making of the Middle Class: Successes of the Past; Challenges for the Future

2011 Program: The Future of Jobs: Innovation and Industrial Policy for Economic Growth

List of all past programs and themes

Program History

Through 24 years of the East-West Center's two-week New Generation Seminar 353 rising regional leaders have broadened their vision, deepened their knowledge and internationalized their perspectives. Across the Asia Pacific region and the United States, New Generation leaders are:

  • Making and shaping national policy as Members of Parliament and Members of Congress;
  • Implementing change as ministers and key government officials;
  • Advising Presidents, Prime Ministers, ministers and governors;
  • Leading local communities as governors, mayors, state legislators and city councilors;
  • Setting national and local agendas as heads of political parties and their youth wings;
  • Transforming lives with new initiatives in civil society and business.

As the world has become more complex, integrated and globalized, the need for international leadership is ever greater. The impact of globalization has reached the smallest towns of America and the most remote rural villages of China. The global economic crisis, climate change, and on-going security challenges demonstrate just how interconnected the world has become, and highlight the need for policymakers to broaden their knowledge of regional issues, understand the complexities of the global economy, and work together toward common solutions versus pursuing only local or national agendas.

The skills and knowledge gained in the program help these leaders to better their communities and the lives of those around them through more effective policymaking, new non-governmental organizations, and fresh initiatives in education, environment, health, business development and other areas. They have gained inspiration and ideas from one another, leading to new solutions for old problems.

The first New Generation Seminar was held in 1988, and since then a total of 338 participants from 26 Asia Pacific countries and the United States have participated in 23 seminars. The program was started by Charles Morrison, who is now President of the East-West Center, and is one of the first and longest running programs focused on developing regional knowledge and relationships among the region's young generation of leaders. It was initially supported by the Luce Foundation, followed by 17 years of generous support from the Freeman Foundation, whose founder Houghton Freeman valued the rich educational community building model of American and Asia Pacific leaders learning together about shared regional challenges. Additional support has been provided by the East-West Center, US Embassies in Asia Pacific, alumni and participants themselves.

Contact Information

Ann Hartman
NGS Program Coordinator
East-West Center
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96848-1601
Phone: (808) 944-7619
Fax: (808) 944-7600
Email:  ngs@eastwestcenter.org