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An Inside Look at U.S. Policymaking in Washington, DC

The Thai American National Internship Program (TANIP) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Thai-American students to gain a firsthand look at the American government and political system in Washington DC, and to reflect on the role they, as future leaders, might play in strengthening the U.S.-Thai relationship.

Participation in the political process is crucial to ensuring that a community’s needs and concerns are heard and addressed. The Thai community in the United States should be more civically engaged and represented at the municipal, state, and national levels given the substantial Thai population in the United States (237,629 according to US Census 2010). While providing support to elected officials who are friends of the Thai community is one way to achieve this objective, a more effective way is to support the community’s new generations to enter politics and represent their own community.

The Royal Thai Embassy  initiated TANIP  to provide Thai-American students with the opportunity to intern/shadow in various offices of elected officials or public agencies at the national level. This experience will develop a stronger understanding of how government operates by experiencing it from an insider’s perspective. The program will prepare elite young leaders to participate in the political/legislative arenas and is dedicated to developing skills of individuals who are interested in public service. Not only will this be an invaluable professional experience, but it will also benefit the Thai community by increasing the interest of Thais in American politics in the future.

The 2018 Program

TANIP, now in its fourth year, sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy in consultation with the US-Asia Institute, provided the opportunity for three Thai-American students to come to Washington D.C. from June 3 – July 25, 2018 to gain hands-on experience in the policymaking process.

During their time in Washington, TANIP interns experienced a week-long orientation and then had the opportunity to intern in various offices of elected officials at the national level.

This summer three students from Yale University, the University of California Los Angeles, and Boston University were selected from a highly-competitive pool to attend the program.

The summer kicked off with a USAI-hosted orientation that included discussions about the role of Congress in government with representatives from the Congressional Research Service, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Center for American Progress, US-ASEAN Business Council and U.S. Department of State. After their orientation, TANIP participants were placed as interns in the offices of Representatives Bobby Brady, Bill Foster, and Tony Cárdenas.

At the conclusion of their internships, the USAI co-hosted a closing reception with the Royal Thai Embassy on July 20th to recognize the TANIP students for their success this summer and present them with certificates, parting presents and good wishes.

Application Deadline: January 12, 2018. See details here.

Important Facts

Eight students will be accepted for this program. The students are responsible for all expenses related to the program (estimated to be approximately $2000) to include travel to Washington DC and return to home location; housing (inexpensive housing option available through the Royal Thai Embassy or on own); food; ground transportation throughout the program; and cultural and spending money. All participants must, after acceptance into the program, show proof of health insurance and sign a liability waiver. The Thai American Youth Political Leadership Awards sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy will be given to three participants to cover expenses for the program. Interested participants must indicate their needs for financial assistance in the application form.