Seventh year of the Young Leaders Institute explores sustainability, security and global education

HOUSTON, August 9, 2022 – The Asia Society Texas Young Leaders Institute resumed fully in-person sessions in its seventh summer, welcoming 55 students from 26 Houston-area schools from late June through July. The Teen Summer Sessions, each one week long, are designed to help Houston high school students become culturally fluid and globally aware leaders in our interconnected world. 2022 Young Leaders Institute students explored global policy issues in energy and sustainability, international security and defense, and global education.

With the aim of broadening knowledge and perspectives, developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and strengthening collaboration and leadership, students worked together in groups to develop a policy proposal for a relevant issue. of this week’s topic. Representing public, private, and charter schools across Houston as well as diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences, the students learned from each other as well as from expert speakers, offsite tours, and institute staff.

In the Energy and Sustainability session, expert speakers included Ouday TuragaFounder and CEO of ADI Analytics; Yaneth Calderon, the Climate Equity Coordinator in the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Sustainability; and Jason Ethierenergy entrepreneur, marketer and general manager currently at Greentown Labs Houston.

In the session on international security and defence, students heard Eric Bottsassistant professor and director of the global cybersecurity program at the University of St. Thomas; Zachary Zwald, assistant professor of international security education at the University of Houston; and Dr Jeremiah O. AsakaAssistant Professor of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University to learn more about cyber, nuclear, and climate security.

In Global Education, speakers included Dr. Beverly Barrettadjunct professor at the Cameron School of Business at the University of St. Thomas; Ambassador Michael Pelletier, founding executive director of the Aspire Initiative Endowed Institute for Global Engagement at the University of Houston; and Helen V. ChouDirector of Human Resources and Strategy at Athena Infonomics, who introduced students to the importance of diverse perspectives and the roles of international development.

Throughout each week, students also engaged in different leadership and team building activities to strengthen their understanding of the world, develop empathy and cultural awareness, and learn to communicate effectively. Additionally, students benefited from offsite visits or other leadership development opportunities to learn in a different environment. During a visit to the BP campus, students from the Energy and Sustainability session toured the Trading Room and Wind Remote Operations Center, received a digital tour of the platform Argos and spoke directly with BP employees about the company’s net zero goals. During the Global Education session, the Consulate General of Japan in Houston generously hosted the students, introduced them to Japan’s education system and school life, and provided them with a cultural background around the daruma wishing dolls that each student has. received as a gift. For students in the International Security and Defense session, a panel of early-career professionals made up of young professionals from a variety of backgrounds and fields shared their personal experiences on internships, job search, creation and development. networking, followed by small group sessions with students to discuss direction.

At the end of each institute, students presented their final policy solutions in teams to a panel of three judges on Friday morning.

  • In Energy and Sustainability, the judges selected the group that presented on Facilitating the adoption of renewable energy in response to the Russian oil crisisand noted that they were impressed with innovative solutions that built on the lessons of other countries and precedents to address a relevant and timely global issue.
  • The winning group in international security and defense addressed a complex issue in its policy proposal, Strengthening US policy towards Taiwanleading the judges to praise the group for its boldness, layered politics and ability to handle tough questions.
  • In Global Education, the highest rated group featured on Dropout rate in Thailandsupporting their policy proposal with what the judges described as detailed research, visual aids and clear data, and solutions aligned with the problems they had identified.

The students appreciated the opportunity to meet others who were also interested in global issues. A student shared, “The best part of YLI was meeting new people, professionals and acquaintances and being able to learn from them as well as share my own thoughts with them.”

Another student reflected on leadership development, saying, “I learned that being a good leader means respecting each other’s ideas and compromising in times of conflict. I have noticed that being a leader encompasses the ability to struggle with effectiveness and trust among peers. They added that in the future, “others could potentially see me being more confident in presenting claims [while also] respect the opinions of others.

One of the judges of the student presentations said, “I am extremely impressed with the students in their knowledge of the issue and their skill in presenting their analysis and arguments. I can’t wait to see what they will do in the years to come. I am also grateful to Asia Society Texas for organizing such a program to help train the next generation of leaders.


Previous Young Leaders Institute Programming

The sixth year of the Young Leaders Institute provides leadership and policy-making opportunities through a variety of subjects
Fifth-year Young Leaders Institute connects students and builds global skills virtually
Young Leaders Institute Expands Reach and Fosters Collaborative Leadership in Year Four
In the third year of YLI, students design policy solutions in China, India and the Middle East
High school students discover China and India thanks to the summer institute
Students dive deep into US-China relations during Young Leaders Institute


About Asia Society Texas

Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diversity of perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating Asia’s vibrant diversity, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Covering the arts, business, culture, education and politics, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community – trusting in the power of art, dialogue and ideas to fight prejudice and build a more inclusive society.