See what sprouted when youth from Southeast Asia came to the United States to learn about leadership, civic engagement, and local sustainability through the lens of “green schools.” Since returning home, the participants have channeled their learning and experiences into positive community action to promote green practices.
In the fall of 2012, the East-WestCenter launched Leading Green: Shaping Sustainable Schools and Communities, a Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program (SEAYLP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. To date, EWC has coordinated two exchanges in the United States for 61 youth and educators from the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The three-week-long exchanges offered took place in schools and communities in Hawai‘i; the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, DC; and surrounding communities in Virginia.
Through hands-on activities focusing on civic education, leadership, diversity, and community engagement, the program provided opportunities for participants to interact with diverse Americans as they examined, through the lens of “green and sustainable schools and communities,” the principles of democracy and civil society. They also created Green Action Projects, described below and on the project website, which they have been implementing since their return home. By focusing on schools and their immediate community, participants have been able to practice leadership as they engage their peers and undertake positive community action to enhance their everyday environment.