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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 and Native Hawaiian/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. 

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. 

2023 Key Dates

Program Dates: June 11-16, 2023

Applications for the 2023 Youth Leadership Academy are now CLOSED. Please check back in the future for the 2024 application and program dates.

Eligibility Requirements

Participants for the 2023 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 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

2022 YLA Wrap-Up 

APAICS held their first in-person Youth Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. this last August. We were joined by 19 high school students from across the United States and Territories to learn about civic engagement, political activism, and public service. We were honored to have been joined by leaders from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association (CAPASA), and outstanding APAICS alumni. 


Throughout the week, participants convened in workshops, deliberated over policy issues, and ended the week with a legislative congressional simulation. They walked the halls of Congress, visited Smithsonian Museums, and spent an evening at the National Monuments. As our inaugural cohort, APAICS welcomes the 2022 Youth Leadership Academy into the alumni community, and looks forward to the next group of outstanding young AA & NH/PI leaders.


2020 Youth Leadership Academy


July 21-24, 2020


2021 Youth Leadership Academy


June 21-25, 2021

Updated Youth Leadership Academy LOGO (Twitter Post).png

2022 Youth Leadership Academy

Washington, D.C.

August 14-19, 2022

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