Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP)

The Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP) is one of many youth exchange programs that brings 50 high school students and 10 adult leaders from Southeast Asia to Northern Illinois University for a three-week leadership program. The program is operated out of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in collaboration with and funding by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The 2024 SEAYLP will be held April 20-May 12, 2024. The program will focus on empowering youth, strengthening people-to-people ties and cultivating a more cohesive community identity in both the United States and Southeast Asia. Participants will learn about environmental sustainability, economic and diplomatic security, diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, participants will work on networking and collaborating within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Students will engage in sessions that encourage participation, discussion and some hands-on learning. We will be taking some field trips to attractions in the surrounding area as well as Chicago and Washington, D.C. Another highlight of the program is the weeklong homestay with an American family. CSEAS actively recruits local host families for a week of hosting SEAYLP participants. If you are interested, please contact CSEAS at or host family coordinator, Dr. Trude Jacobsen Gidaszewski, at

NIU's Center for Southeast Asian Studies has hosted SEAYLP since 2009, welcoming participants from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Global Youth Leaders Camp

American high school students with community service and leadership experience are also invited to participate in the program through a weekend Global Youth Leaders Camp and a three-day study tour to Washington, D.C. This free opportunity gives selected Illinois high school students, ages 15-17, the chance to interact with peers from 10 Southeast Asian countries, learn about diverse cultures, build lasting friendships, and to practice leadership and civic action skills.