The U.S. Congress – Korean National Assembly Exchange Program is a unique program designed to broaden the perspectives of Korean and American young people on: the legislative process; the history of U.S. - Korean relations; and current economic, political, and security aspects of the bilateral relationship. The program also provides the U.S. and Korean participants with first hand experience of each other’s people and culture, and creates opportunities for participants to form long-lasting personal contacts.
The program was first created in 1981 by U.S. Representative Ben Gilman and his counterpart in the Korea National Assembly David Pong. Congressman Mark Kirk assumed the program’s sponsorship during his tenure in the House of Representatives between 2003 and 2010. After Congressman Kirk’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Congressman Robert Dold from Illinois took over Congressional sponsorship of the program. Since 2013, Senator Mark Kirk has reassumed program sponsorship. The program, funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Congress and Korean National Assembly and developed and implemented by Meridian International Center.
This joint exchange program combines internships in host country national legislatures with briefings from government officials and private sector specialists, peer interaction, and cultural activities. Ten Korean university students and a group leader from the Korean National Assembly will participate in the U.S. program and an equivalent group from the U.S. will participate in the U.S. and Korea program.
The Korean and American delegations will spend seven days together in Washington, DC. Afterwards, the Americans will depart for Korea, while the Koreans will remain in the U.S. for site visits to several U.S. cities. At the end of the program, the Korean delegation will return to Korea to reunite with their American counterparts for three days together in Seoul. Specific dates are:
The U.S. delegation consists of 10 American students, between the ages of 20 and 27, nominated by members of the U.S. Congress and selected through a competitive application process. For additional information please check the "Qualification" and "How to Apply" tabs above.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification of the Korean National Assembly nominates the Korean students to travel to the U.S.
The participation in this program for the selected members of the U.S. delegation is fully funded by the U.S. Department of State including domestic flights to and from hometown, international flights to and from Korea, as well as hotels, meals, and local transportation while in Washington, DC. The Korean National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification will cover all program costs in Korea including accommodations, meals, and local transportation to scheduled meetings and events, as well as entrance fees into planned cultural events, museums, musical performances, etc. Other incidental expenses, such as gifts, souvenirs, movies, free time activities, and meals outside those part of the program are the responsibility of the individual participants.
Participants in the program are required to meet these requirements:
There are two final requirements upon completion of this program.