lincoln center, NEW YORK CITY
july 9 – 13, 2018, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

To inspire and educate the next generation of thought leaders, Kundiman is offering its first Youth Leadership Intensive. Students will read selections from important works of Asian American literature and history and will consider how they speak to the opportunities and challenges we face in the twenty-first century. As a culminating project, they will engage in an oral history/creative writing Kavad project which will bring them in dialogue with their peers and instructors in a highly supportive, fun, and encouraging environment. Throughout the Intensive, they will receive counsel from leading writers, artists, and industry innovators. Our goal is to nurture leaders that are strongly grounded in a rich legacy of Asian American letters and community-building. 


Rising 9th grade – 12th grade students who self-identify as Asian American.


The non-refundable tuition fee is $1,000 and includes lunch, snacks, field trips, and supplies. Housing is not included. A list of hotels near Lincoln Center can be found here.


Full and partial needs-based scholarships are available to a limited number of accepted students.
We are grateful for gifts from the following funds, which make these scholarships possible:
The I-Ping and Chun-Chih Chiu Scholarship
The Leela and Narayan Korwar Memorial Scholarship
The Sill and Ark Teung Chin Scholarship Fund
The Solomon Verdes Memorial Scholarship Fund


Between December 19th and February 15th, apply to the Youth Intensive by clicking on the below "Apply" button. Notification on application status will be given by February 25th.  


What to Expect

  • Explore Asian American identity, history, and culture
  • Study with acclaimed writers and artists
  • Develop skills for literary analysis, critical thinking, and self-expression
  • Power Lunch with industry innovators in law, medicine, technology, and finance


Guided tours of the Museum of Art and Design and Central Park.


Sample Schedule

  • 9:00 am: Meditation, Freewrite, Opening Circle
  • 10:00 am: Literature: Kundiman Reader
  • 11:00 am: Break
  • 11:15 am: Kavad Project
  • 12:15 pm: Power Lunch
  • 1:15 pm: History: The Making of Asian America
  • 2:15 pm: Break
  • 2:30 pm: Fieldtrip / Artist Spotlight
  • 4:00 pm: Small Group Mentorship & Closing Circle
  • 5:00 pm: End

Faculty / Guest Speakers

Dickson Chin is a Partner at Jones Day, a global law firm with 42 offices around the world. He has two decades of experience representing investors, financial institutions, utilities, developers, energy marketers, commercial users, and other market participants in a wide range of energy transactions. His practice encompasses energy marketing and trading, renewable energy, project finance and development, construction, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he also advises clients on financial products and derivatives, Dodd-Frank, blockchain / distributed ledger technology, smart contracts and initial coin offerings. Dickson coordinates the global structured finance and derivative lawyers of the Firm.

Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Delivered (Persea Books) and Matadora (Alice James Books). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, POETRY, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, The New Republic and other journals. She holds degrees from The University of Virginia and The Literary Arts Program at Brown University. Her honors include the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets and Writers and grants and fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts, Urban Artists Initiative and The MacDowell Colony. She is Associate Professor of English / Director of Creative Writing at Fordham University.

Tara Hariharan is head of research at NWI Management LP, a New York-based hedge fund. Tara’s analysis of financial markets extends to political economy and frequent dialogue with policymakers in multiple global geographies. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Princeton University, where her independent research included issues of language nationalism, fiction written by the post-colonial Indian diaspora and the role of language and literature in subaltern studies. Tara is also keenly focused on transatlantic policy, and was awarded a 2014 American Marshall Memorial Fellowship by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and American Young Leader 2016 by the American Council on Germany.

Ajay Khanna is a Principal at Corporate Power Inc. and has served as Chief Technology Officer at Transclick Inc. He has fourteen years of technology and outsourcing experience working with Fortune 500 and mid-sized firms. He started his career with NASA developing artificial intelligence and real-time missile tracking software tools for the United States Air Force. He then held technical lead positions for a variety of projects including the Electronic Marketplace initiative at IBM, sponsored by Lou Gerstner and the corporate intranet for Ernst & Young, sponsored by E&Y's John Peetz and used by 75,000 E&Y consultants worldwide.

Elda Rotor is Vice President and Publisher of Penguin Classics at Penguin Random House. She oversees the classics programs for John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, Shirley Jackson, William Golding, the Pelican Shakespeare and more. She is the editor of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry edited by Rita Dove, The Art of Language Invention by David Peterson, The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Times bestseller The Inaugural Address by Barack Obama. Currently, she is building the #RememberResistRediscover social media campaign for Penguin Classics. She has published poems in magazines and anthologies including The Literary Review, The Nuyorasian Anthology, and Flippin’: Filipinos on America.

Akila Radhakrishnan is the Vice-President and Legal Director of the Global Justice Center. She directs GJC’s strategies and efforts to establish legal precedents protecting human rights and ensuring gender equality. In 2010, she helped to conceptualize GJC’s August 12th Campaign to ensure access to abortion services for girls and women raped in war as a matter of right and has since led legal and advocacy efforts on the project. Akila also leads GJC’s Gender and Genocide project, including to ensure justice and accountability for the Yazidi genocide and is a key member of GJC’s Burma project team. In her role, Akila has authored numerous shadow reports, legal briefs and advocacy documents and provided legal expertise to domestic and international stakeholders and policymakers, including the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the European Union and state governments. Akila has been published widely on issues of international law, gender equality and human rights, including in the New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, Women Under Siege, Ms. Magazine, and Rewire.

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco has more than 16 years of educational experience as a teacher, faculty member, and administrator in independent schools (8th-12th grades), undergraduate colleges, and a graduate school of education. As a writer, he has published stories and essays in AGNI, Joyland, Post Road, The North American Review, and numerous anthologies including Walang Hiya (Carayan Press, 2010) and Screaming Monkeys (Coffee House Press, 2003). In 2013, he was selected as a NYC Emerging Writer Fellow from The Center for Fiction. Ricco received his MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and has taught at Columbia University, Boston College, and the Massachusetts College of Art. Currently, he teaches and is a diversity practitioner at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. Ricco is a board member of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. He is completing a PhD in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Hanae Tokita is a physician anesthesiologist and Clinical Director at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Josie Robertson Surgery Center. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in History. After graduation, she spent three years traveling through Europe, waiting tables, and as a Editorial Assistant for Houghton Mifflin Publishing House prior to starting medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine. After completing her residency in Anesthesiology at Mount Sinai Hospital, she worked in private practice before transitioning to her current position at Memorial Sloan Kettering. She specializes in regional anesthesia and her research interests are in pain management and improving quality of recovery for patients undergoing breast cancer surgery. Hanae’s other career passion is global health disparities, and she has been involved in medical mission work and research in East and West Africa, India, and South America.