The 2019 Youth Leadership Intensive

lincoln center, NEW YORK CITY
july 8 – 12, 2019, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

“The Kundiman Youth Intensive was the most transformative experience of my life. I hadn't realize how starved I had been for a space that was devoted to being uniquely Asian American. I felt completely understood and embraced by people who could relate to what my life was like. Finally, here was a way that I could situate myself in history, literature, and community, without having to codeswitch or struggle to feel represented." –– Emily Lu, 2018 Youth Leadership Intensive

To inspire and educate the next generation of thought leaders, Kundiman is offering its second 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. Read more about our 2018 Youth Leadership Intensive here!


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


The non-refundable tuition fee is $1,250 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.


Rolling applications and scholarship applications will be accepted through March 15th, 2019.



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
  • Hear from guest speakers who are industry innovators in law, medicine, technology, and finance
  • Have fun with new friends and foster community


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


Sample Schedule

  • 10:00 am: Opening Circle & Spark Writing
  • 11:00 am: Asian American Literature
  • 11:45 am: Guest Speaker/Industry Innovator
  • 12:15 pm: Lunch
  • 1:15 pm: History: The Making of Asian America
  • 2:15 pm: Break
  • 2:30 pm: Visiting Artist Talk
  • 4:00 pm: Small Group Mentorship & Closing Circle
  • 5:00 pm: End

Faculty for 2019 will be announced soon! See below for our 2018 faculty.

Home Group Leaders

For the past 7 years, Dan Lau has passionately worked with grassroots non-profits from the San Francisco Bay area to the high desert of Boise, Idaho. As a poet, he has received a Kundiman fellowship, William Dickey fellowship, and Kustra fellowship as well as grants and scholarships from APICC, GAPA Foundation, Queer Cultural Center, San Francisco Arts Commission, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His poetry has appeared in Red Light Lit, Generations, Cape Cod Review, CRATE, Gesture, pacificREVIEW, RHINO, The Collagist, Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry by Low Brow Press, and Colorado Review.

Margaret Rhee is a poet, artist, and scholar. She is the author of chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) and Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015), nominated for a 2017 Elgin Award, Science Fiction Poetry Association. She is the author of the full length collection Love, Robot (The Operating System, 2017) and named Best Poetry Book of 2017 by Entropy Magazine. Her project The Kimchi Poetry Machine was selected for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 3. Literary fellowships include Kundiman, Hedgebrook, and the Kathy Acker Fellowship. She received her PhD from UC Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies. Currently, she is a Visiting Scholar at the NYU A/P/A Institute, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo in the Department of Media Study.

R. A. Villanueva’s first book, Reliquaria, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize (U. Nebraska Press, 2014). His honors include a commendation from the Forward Prizes, a Ninth Letter Literary Award, and fellowships from Kundiman, the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, and The Asian American Literary Review. New writing appears in Poetry, the American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prac Crit, and widely elsewhere.


Caroline Lee is an educator currently teaching English and facilitating Teaching and Learning initiatives at The Princeton Day School. Formerly, she taught at the The Lawrenceville School and served as the Assistant Director for Multicultural Affairs for Curriculum. In addition to teaching foundational courses, she has also taught several electives including: Asian American Literature, Voices in the Family: Writing Our Stories, Constructions of Race in American Literature, Gender in Literature, and The Peaceful Warrior: Mindfulness and Literature. She is frequent collaborator and teacher advisor to Angela Duckworth’s The Character Lab which helps develop and pilot research-based character tools and interventions. Caroline was the Educational Investigator for the Lab’s recent Expert Practice Playbook with Professor Anders Ericsson. As a writer, Caroline worked with the National Archives of Philadelphia creating a series of stories and a performances about the Chinese Exclusion Acts. She earned her B.A. in English and Art History from Rutgers University, her M.A. in English from The Pennsylvania State University, and her M.L.A. in Creative Writing from The University of Pennsylvania.

Ryan Lee Wong is a writer and arts organizer based in Brooklyn. His curatorial work connects Asian American activist histories to the present, and includes the exhibition Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s at the Chinese American Museum and Serve the People at Interference Archive. His arts criticism, focused on the intersections between art and politics, has appeared in The Village Voice, T Magazine, and Hyperallergic, as well as catalogues for the New Museum and Social Practice Queens. Ryan has served as a Visiting Scholar at the A/P/A Institute at NYU, Managing Director of Kundiman, a Visiting Critic at RISD, Assistant Curator at the Museum of Chinese in America, and an exhibitions administrator at the Metropolitan Museum. He has presented talks at Brooklyn Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Asia Art Archive, Independent Curators International, and numerous universities.

Power Lunch 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Visiting Artists

Wo Chan is a poet and drag performer. Wo is the author of the chapbook ORDER THE WORLD, MOM (Belladonna), and has received honors from the New York Foundation of the Arts, Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Asian American Writers Workshop. Their work centers on creating personal narratives of immigration, race, and gender in text and stage performance. As a standing member of the Brooklyn based drag/burlesque collective Switch N' Play, Wo has performed at venues including MOMA PS1, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, New York Live Arts, and BAM Fisher. In 2016, Wo wrote and directed an all Asian American experimental theater piece, WHITEFLAG / WHITEFACE, which debuted at the 2016 HOT! Festival at Dixon Place. Wo was born in Macau, China, and currently lives in New York where they are an MFA Candidate in Poetry at NYU.

Eileen Huang is a senior at High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, The Kenyon Review, and the Poetry Society of the UK. From 2015-2016, she served as one of five student poets in the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. She currently serves as a prose editor for TRACK//FOUR, a literary journal for writers of color. She will attend Yale University in the fall.

Wing Tek Lum is a Honolulu businessman and poet. Bamboo Ridge Press has published two collections of his poetry, Expounding the Doubtful Points (1987) and The Nanjing Massacre: Poems (2012).

Kundiman Staff

Cathy Linh Che (Executive Director) has worked in nonprofit administration, education, and publishing for over 15 years. In 2012, Cathy was hired as a communications consultant for Kundiman. In 2014, she became Kundiman's Managing Director. She has also worked for Kaya Press, New Directions Publishing, and Poets & Writers and has taught at New York University, The Polytechnic University at NYU, The Asian American Writers Workshop, and at Sierra Nevada College. Cathy is the author of the poetry collection Split (Alice James Books), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize, Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Best Poetry Book Award from the Association of Asian American Studies. She received her BA from Reed College and her MFA from New York University.

Sarah Gambito (Co-Founder) is the author of Matadora (Alice James Books) and Delivered (Persea Books). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, The Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, Field, Quarterly West, Fence and other journals. She holds degrees from The University of Virginia and The Creative Writing Program at Brown University. A recipient of grants and fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts, Urban Artists Initiative and The MacDowell Colony, she is Assistant Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Fordham University.

Kyle Lucia Wu (Programs and Communications Manager) is the publisher of Joyland and has worked for HarperCollins, Electric Literature, and The New School Writing Program. She is the recipient of an Asian American Writers’ Workshop Margins fellowship and has received residencies from the Millay Colony and Byrdcliffe Colony. She has an MFA in fiction from The New School and teaches at Fordham University.