New Generation Seminar

The New Generation Seminar, now in its 27th year, is an intensive professional development, dialogue and field study program that provides the next generation of Asia Pacific and American leaders an opportunity to internationalize their perspectives, develop new solutions for shared challenges and build an international network. The program targets rising political, policy, private sector, and civil society leaders, aged 25-40, and 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 and communities across the region. Leaders gain skills, knowledge and new ideas to affect change. Through 26 years of the East-West Center's New Generation Seminar 385 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.

2017 New Generation Seminar

Dates: September 23-October 1, 2017

Theme: “People-Centered Governance for Inclusive and Sustainable Communities.”

Destinations: Honolulu, Hawaii

Application Deadline: CLOSED

2017 Program

The 2017 New Generation Seminar will bring together 10-12 participants for a one-week program at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii to explore the theme “People-Centered Governance for Inclusive and Sustainable Communities.” Through round-table discussions with experts, presentations by one another, training, and on-site field visits, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved in building communities that are socially equitable, economically feasible and environmentally healthy, and strategies and tools that they can adapt for use in their home countries to promote broader citizen engagement in the community building process.

Leaders in Asia and the United States today are working to respond more effectively to rapid urban growth and changing development needs such as incorporating large infrastructure projects into existing local communities; accommodating new migrant populations; revitalizing aging, post-industrial neighborhoods; and rebuilding after natural disasters. The global New Urban Agenda, adopted in 2016, lays the groundwork for policies and approaches for addressing the rapid transformation of cities and towns into large metropolitan urban areas over the next two decades and beyond based on a set of core principles that include democratic development and respect for human rights; a symbiotic relationship between environment and urbanization; and urban resilience to climate change.

Through roundtable dialogue with US and Asia-based experts, NGS participants will examine the relationships between urbanization, sustainable development and community building within the context of global, regional and local challenges. The program will include a one-day Public Interest Design workshop where participants will learn techniques for undertaking “community-based” participatory planning and design activities dedicated to building and supporting a culture of civic responsibility and engagement. This approach emphasizes sustained local citizen participation in collaborative decision-making in partnership with professionals (architects, planners, local government officials, elected representatives, etc.) to create equitable improvements to their built environment. The program’s field study will include site visits to two community-based design projects in Hawaii, one in Honolulu’s downtown Chinatown district and one in Waipahu, a former sugarcane plantation town. Both communities are facing significant development impacts as designated station stops along the island’s new light rail line as well as flood risks in coastal areas due to rising sea levels.

For more details about this year's thematic content and program, please contact: Meril Fujiki, Seminars Development Coordinator, 808-944-7352;

Past Programs

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

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 met 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 were 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 seventeen young leaders in the 2016 NGS explored 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 provided 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 represented 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. These three cities offered different examples of how to 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.

Click here to view highlights from the 2016 New Generation Seminar.

Congratulations to the 2016 New Generation Seminar Participants:

  • Ms. Jade Hawson BALFOUR, Aboriginal History Research Officer, Department of Aboriginal Affairs, East Perth, Australia
  • Mr. Enkhbold BUKHCHULUUN, Presidium Secretary, Ulaanbaatar Citizens Representatives Hural/City Council, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Mr. Chi Yuen CHAN, Co-founder & CEO, Walk in Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Mr. Vitharong CHAN, Deputy Director, Department of Safeguarding and Preservation of Monuments, General Department of Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Ms. Emilie Claire EVANS, Director, Rightsizing Cities Initiative, PlaceEconomics/Heritage Strategies International, New York, NY, USA 
  • Ms. Dar’shun Nicole KENDRICK, State Representative, State of Georgia General Assembly, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Mr. Afzal KHAN, General Member, Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Ms. Jarunee KHONGSAWAT, Manager, Siamese Heritage Trust, The Siam Society, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Ms. May Thway KO, Development & External Relations Officer, Yangon Heritage Trust, Yangon, Myanmar
  • Ms. Hyeran LEE, Manager, Urban Regeneration Headquarters, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul, South Korea
  • Ms. Michelle MAGALONG, Chairperson, Asian & Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation, Washington, DC, USA
  • Ms. Joanne June Theng MUN, Programme Manager, Think City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Dr. Leila SADEGHI, Executive Director, Guarini Institute for Government & Leadership, Jersey City, NJ, USA
  • Mr. Mohammad Daud SADIQ, Project Manager, Agha Khan Trust for Culture, Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Mr. Agus SALIM, Development Planner, Regional Development Planning Board, Yogyakarta City Government, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  • Mr. Ameet Bhaskar SATAM, State Representative, Legislative Assembly, Maharashtra Government, Mumbai, India
  • Mr. Vannak SENG, Deputy-Chief of Urban Management Division, Phnom Penh City Government, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Ms. Rosalind Tai Ming WONG, Head of Conference Division, Sarawak Development Institute, Kuching, Malaysia
Program History

Through 27 years of the East-West Center's two-week New Generation Seminar 385 rising regional leaders from 26 Asia Pacific countries 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. 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

Meril Dobrin Fujiki
Seminars Development Coordinator
East-West Center
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96848-1601
Phone: (808) 944-7352
Fax: (808) 944-7600