A Webinar to Spotlight Thai-American Youth Empowerment

The Royal Thai Embassy and the US-Asia Institute hosted a hybrid webinar on “Thai-American Youth Empowerment: Perspectives from Thai-Americans in the Thai American National Internship Program (TANIP)” featuring remarks from H.E. Manasvi Srisodapol, Ambassador of Thailand to the United States; Ms. Mary Sue Bissell, President of the US-Asia Institute; Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE); and participants of the 2021 TANIP program on 6 August 2021.

This webinar caps off the 2021 Thai-American National Internship Program (TANIP), a youth empowerment and professional development program created to provide an opportunity for Thai-American youths to gain a firsthand look at the American government and political system in Washington D.C., and to reflect on the role they, as future leaders, might play in promoting Thai community empowerment and fostering Thai-U.S. relations.

The webinar was held both on Zoom for the general public and in person at the Royal Thai Embassy for the participants, their families, their mentors, as well as those who had made this year’s program possible. One by one, TANIP participants took the podium to share not just their internship experiences, but also their personal journey as Thai-Americans, their professional growth since joining the program, and the role of they envision for themselves and other Thai-Americans in elevating the voice of the Thai community in the United States and ensure representation. With deep understanding and personal ties to both Thailand and the United States, participants are also mindful of their unique position in promoting people-to-people relations between the two countries.

At the end of the program, Ambassador Manasvi Srisodapol and Ms. Mary Sue Bissell awarded Certificates of Achievement to TANIP participants and Certificates of Appreciation to Office of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), Office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-Florida), Office of Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-California), Office of Congressman Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the East-West Center, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) as a token of appreciation for their support.

Joining us on this year’s program are Justin Hogenauer from California, Kathryn Wangthamkua from Washington, Ty Kiatathikom from Illinois, Reid Arne and Sai-kit Jeremy Lee from Utah, Ashleigh Kong and Lisa Guagliano from Florida, and Kendrick Nikornpan from Maine.