Mansfield Center

Mansfield Center

Project Bridge

 

2016 Project Bridge Group Photo

In the spirit of cultivating culturally sensitive leaders of tomorrow, the Mansfield Center, The Korea Society of New York City and the Pacific Century Institute in Los Angeles select twenty high school students to become Youth Ambassadors in the Project Bridge intercultural youth leadership program.

For the second time, Montana youth are able to take part in the academically enriching Project Bridge program. Selected Youth Ambassadors are Montana residents enrolled as juniors in a Missoula, Montana area public, private or homeschool high school and will take part in an intercultural youth leadership and intercultural awareness program that advances the ability of its participants to understand and respect other cultures. Originally created in response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the goal of the Program is to “bridge” the gap among cultures through cultural awareness and leadership training. It aims to cultivate future community leaders and introduce them to U.S.-Korea relations, with an emphasis on cultural and racial sensitivity and a firm understanding of Korea.

Project Bridge has expanded its outreach, from the Los Angeles-based Pacific Century Institute and the Korea Society located in New York, to rural and tribal youth though partnering with the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. This is the Mansfield Center’s only academic youth exchange with Korea, adding to our strong youth international exchange programs with Japan, China, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Through a very competitive process, Project Bridge admitted 20 student Youth Ambassadors for its 2019-2020 cohort, including four from the Missoula, Montana area. They joined a cohort of eight Los Angeles and eight New York Youth Ambassadors and three group leaders on a yearlong academic program.

The Program offers many exciting opportunities for its Youth Ambassadors to build leadership skills and intercultural competence, improve their public speaking ability and grow their personal and professional networks. Students engage in bi-monthly educational workshops on topics such as Korean history, language, modern society, and U.S.-Korea relations, as well race relations in the U.S., which are led by topic experts. A key element of the Program is a collaborative research project with their Los Angeles and New York counterparts. Pandemic allowing, the capstone event is an all-expenses paid ten-day study tour in spring 2022 to the Republic of Korea. In the past, Youth Ambassadors have visited Korean high schools, universities, government ministries, businesses, museums and have experienced a home stay with a Korean high school student, as well as an overnight Buddhist temple stay. Throughout the program, students meet with diplomats, government officials and business leaders. Following the tour, students conduct a community presentation, sharing insights gained. Please note that we fully intend to include this experience for this cohort. While we hope that it happens in Spring 2022, it could be moved to Summer 2022, later, or canceled completely. Please apply for this program with this understanding in mind.

Program Activities

  • Seminars covering Korean history, language and culture
  • Bi-monthly workshops on multicultural youth leadership issues and relations
  • Field trips
  • Community Service
  • Pandemic allowing: 10-day educational study tour of Korea – 12 days total: 10 day study tour & 2 travel days - you will miss 8 school days if this takes place as hoped in Spring 2022

Program Schedule

Application Deadline: November 7, 2021

Announcement of Finalists: November 2021

Study Tour: Spring 2022

Contact

For more information, contact program manager Randi Edwards.