Role of International Leadership Foundation Lauded
By Sarah Sikandar


When members of a community take initiative for the collective betterment of their community and be a part of the country’s political scene, it inevitably results in a positive and fruitful effort – this is exactly what people behind International Leadership Foundation (ILF) aim to achieve for the Asian–American community in United States.

The foundation’s press conference held at the house of the ILF Orange County advisor, Anila Ali in Irvine, California brought several notable members of the community including the newly-elected Betty Yee, Irvine’s first Asian Mayor Sukhe Kang, from (years) name, ILF CEO Chiling Tong, member of ILF Board of Director Derrick Nguyen ILF alumni fellows and the well-wishers of the foundation who traveled from all over the country to be a part of the event.

ILF was founded in 1999 as a non-profit organization working with the Asian Pacific American community to promote civic awareness and better economic opportunities. The foundation focuses on young Asians and renders support through scholarship and leadership training throughout the United States. Since its inception the foundation has successfully supported thousands of graduate students through their programs and encouraging them to be a part of mainstream political and government working introducing them to official workings and allowing them in making better career choices in future.

Speaking on the occasion the CEO Chiling Tong reiterated the need to ‘a greater representation of our community in government, an ILF’s goal is to train a new generation of successful leaders in their chosen fields and raise our community’s profile as engaged, American citizens who deserve to have our voices heard.’ She also announced the next year’s opening for the fellowship which is going to place 30 students from the Asian community in different government departments in Washington DC during the summer. She also laid stress on the need of the Asian community to have a collective voice for the betterment of their general goodwill and to ensure their participation in the political process.

Former ILF fellow Ma’Ayn Johnson said that ‘Asian Americans are not well represented in the media or the government, making ILF all the more essential.’ She also said that combining the values students like herself bring with them combined with American values of democracy can make a difference.

Daniyal Karim, another ILF fellow, said that the foundation allowed him an insight into the working of the government which is important because anyone living here should know how the system works. Tar Rakha, another ILF fellow, shared his experience of working at the White House last summer. These fellows said that ILF is an excellent opportunity for young people like them to look and experience the way the government works by becoming a part of it and getting hands-on experience.

The committee also announced next year’s opening for application where thirty students will be selected as civic fellows based on their academic interest and aptitude at college level. They will be placed as interns with federal agencies, congressional offices and the White House apart from receiving a stipend.

The deadline for applications is February 2015.

Asian-American undergrads with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, may apply for the internship at:



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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