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Youth Leadership Academy


The APAICS Youth Leadership Academy program, in partnership with the Close Up Foundation, is a week-long leadership development and enrichment program geared towards high school students. The purpose of the program is to provide students of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and/or Pacific Islander (AA & NH/PI) heritage the unique opportunity to learn more about government and public policy issues impacting the AA & NH/PI community and how they can be more involved in the political process.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore Washington D.C. and participate in a mock Congress to learn firsthand what roles they can play in the American political system. Students will also have the chance to meet with AA & NH/PI leaders working in the White House and in Congress. 

About the Close Up Foundation

The mission of the non-profit, non-partisan Close Up Foundation is to inform, inspire and empower young people to understand and embrace the rights and responsibilities of active citizenship. Since 1971, Close Up has served more than 900,000 students and teachers from across the country.  Close Up serves middle and high school students and teachers through civic education programs, professional development for educators, and classroom resources. 

2024 Key Dates

Program Dates: June 9-14, 2024

**EXTENDED** Application Deadline: April 19, 2024

Eligibility Requirements

Participants for the 2024 Youth Leadership Academy must be currently enrolled high school students for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Fees and Financial Aid

Cost: $1,667 + price of flight to Washington, DC, to participate.

This cost includes any entrance fees, hotel accommodations, all meals, and programming. Scholarships are available to students whose families demonstrate financial need. Please complete Section 4 - Scholarship Information to be considered for a scholarship.



“YLA was one of the most incredible weeks of my life. This program gave me the unique opportunity to simultaneously form long-lasting relationships with fellow young AA & NH/PI’s, while providing a supportive setting for me to share my values and my passions with them. Additionally, hearing the experiences and stories from AA & NH/PI Congressional and White House staffers, as well as members of Congress, made me realize that there is a place for me to be an active participant in our country’s democracy no matter my background. Overall, YLA through the conglomeration of my education about the history of our nation’s capital; the mock deliberations and congressional debates; and the awe-inspiring people we had the chance to meet, showed me that the perspective of myself and my community can be and should be advocated for. I would give anything to do this program again.”


Mai Malesky

APAICS YLA 2023 Participant


“YLA gave me the opportunity to meet dozens of other young AANHPI students who shared an interest in politics and government. What’s more, hearing the views of my fellow participants while discussing pressing issues like climate change and police reform was a great way to hone my speaking and argumentation skills. With unique, tailored panels on college admissions and from NHPI officials, I learned about important aspects of federal policy that wouldn’t be covered in a traditional civics class. As a whole, the Youth Leadership Academy was the perfect way to experience Washington D.C. and hear from the people who work there day-to-day.”


Jeffrey Teh

APAICS YLA 2022 Participant

2023 YLA Wrap-Up 

This year's Youth Leadership Academy participants had a jam-packed week exploring D.C. historical sites, engaging with congressional staffers and White House staffers, attending college workshops, and hearing from CAPAC Chairwoman Representative Judy Chu (CA-28) and Representative Andy Kim (NJ-03)!


Also through the program, participants got to meet like-minded AA & NH/PI high school students with an interest in politics whom they collaborated and honed their political skills with through debates, policy discussions, a mock Congress session.


Please contact with any inquries.

Please do not contact the office in regard to your application status. Only qualified candidates will be directly contacted by program supervisors. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we regret that we are unable to respond to all applicants.

2024 Youth Leadership Academy Sponsors

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