Applications for the 2022-2023 Project Bridge cohort are now closed.
About Project Bridge
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 Western 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.
2022-2023 Program Timeline
October 2022: Application Opens
Early November 2022: Application Closes and Interviews
Late November 2022: Finalists Announced
December 2022: Program Begins
April 2023: Study Tour to Korea
June 2023: Program Wrap-Up
2021-2022 Youth Ambassadors
Samuel Kayll - Loyola Sacred Heart High School
My name is Samuel Kayll. I’m 16 years old, and I’m a junior at Loyola Sacred Heart High School. I am a member of Key Club, I play soccer and participate in speech and debate. In my free time, I love to play, write, and listen to music; hang out with my friends; and enjoy the outdoors. One of the issues I’d like to draw more attention to is racism against Asian-Americans, and I hope that Project Bridge gives me an opportunity to learn more about this problem so we can make steps towards eliminating hate crimes.
Cyrus Kiely - Hellgate High School
My name is Cyrus Kiely, I’m sixteen years old and a junior at Hellgate High School. I am a member of the tennis team, and if I had to choose my favorite subject in school, it would be Arabic, but I also enjoy math and history. I enjoy playing tennis, skiing, and spending time outdoors in whatever capacity. I am excited to learn about Korean history and relations with the U.S. with people of various perspectives and backgrounds.
Noel Migliaccio - Big Sky High School
My name is Noel Migliaccio and I am a junior at Big Sky High School in the Health Science Academy. I enjoy my science and math classes and being a part of our Key Club, Student Government, and soccer and track teams. In my free time I enjoy snowboarding and hammocking. In this program, I am hoping to gain cultural insight into Korea and meet new people that can help me and others become better people in our communities.
Lily Miller - Hellgate High School
Hi, my name is Lily and I am a junior at Hellgate High School where I am in student government and I love all my classes. Go Knights! I am a Montana girl at heart that loves skiing the trees, rafting rivers and surfing our local play wave. I am also a member of the Red Ants Pants Girl’s Rural Leadership program working on a project that highlights girls' voices in wilderness spaces. I race for the Hellgate Mammoths (state champion) mountain bike team and play competitive hockey. It is my dream to play hockey in college, and to study engineering and literature. When I was little, I started a project to help girls in Nepal access education, and I am honored to be a part of Project Bridge, which will help me learn more about the world outside my town and how young people can play an important role in global interconnectedness.