2009 U.S. Congress – Korean National Assembly Youth Exchange Program

For the twelfth consecutive year, Meridian International Center will conduct the U.S. Congress-Korean National Assembly Youth Exchange Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by Congressman Mark Kirk of Illinois. Created in 1981 by Congressman Ben Gilman and Korean National Assemblyman David Pong, this dynamic program brings together young people from the United States and the Republic of Korea for a memorable opportunity to promote cultural awareness and political understanding.


10 Koreans and 10 Americans, between the ages of 20 and 27, nominated by members of the Korean National Assembly and the U.S. Congress, respectively, and selected through a competitive application process.

Dates for the U.S. Delegation

  • July 12 – July 21, 2009: Washington, DC
  • July 22 – August 5, 2009: Seoul, South Korea (program arranged by the Korean National Assembly)
  • The Korean and American delegations will spend 9 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 two days together in Seoul.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of this program is to foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and Korea. Through a program of travel, professional meetings and cultural activities, this program will allow participants:

  • To broaden their perspectives and knowledge about the legislative processes in the U.S. and Korea; the history of U.S.-Korean bilateral relations; and the current economic, political and security aspects of the bilateral relationship;
  • To learn more about the culture and country through hands-on experience; and
  • To provide opportunities for participants to form lasting personal relationships with Korean peers.

Jobs/Responsibilities for U.S. Delegation

  • Willingness to experience Korean culture and participate in cross-cultural exchange;
  • Ability to represent the U.S. and your Congressional office as an “Ambassador” to Korea;
  • Work with your Congressional office to plan a one-day internship on the Hill for your Korean counterpart;
  • Play host to your Korean counterpart during the Washington, DC portion of the program;
  • Fully familiarize yourself with provided reading materials and program itinerary;
  • Actively participate in discussions during professional appointments with questions and analysis; and
  • Demonstrate professionalism and respect for all participants and hosts throughout the program.

Participant qualifications

  • A. Personal Statement: Please include a one to two page personal statement that describes:
    • Your academic and personal background, highlighting things that have prepared you for or make you interested in participating in this program;
    • Your interest in learning about Korean politics and culture; and
    • How you foresee this program impacting your future professional and personal goals.
  • B. Letter of Nomination and Recommendation: Please submit a letter of nomination and recommendation from a Congressional office. The recommendation may come from:
    • a) the office of your Congressional Representative,
    • b) the office of a Representative for whom you have interned in the past or
    • c) the office of a Representative for whom you are currently interning
  • C. Background Information: Please complete the Personal Data and Academic and Professional Background information below.

Project summary

2009 U.S. Congress – Korean National Assembly Youth Exchange Program | August 2009
Number of Visitors: 20
Regions: East Asia and Pacific
Countries: South Korea
Impact Areas: Education, Public Diplomacy, Youth Leadership Development
Program Areas: Global Leadership
Partners: Public Sector, Private Sector