KW Lee Center for Leadership Homepage

Korean American Youth Leaders in Training Program


2018 Summer Internship

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High School Internship Application
College Internship Application


The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership is sponsoring an exciting leadership development initiative for high school and college students called the Korean American Youth Leaders in Training. Sa-i-gu (April 29, 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest), which serves as the impetus for this program, exposed many deep-rooted problems in the Korean American community, particularly the lack of leadership. The purpose of this program is to take deliberate steps to fill that void by developing and supporting a new generation of Korean American leaders. The program provides an opportunity for Korean American students to develop leadership skills, explore their culture and history, experience hands-on community organizing, and develop a larger perspective of themselves in relation to their own community as well as the larger public arena.

Who Should Apply?

High school and college students who have an interest in the Korean American community and want to develop their leadership skills to create social change may apply. Non-Korean applicants are encouraged to apply. Each program is limited to 8 college and 12 high school interns. College interns will receive a $500 stipend. College interns not from the Southern California area are eligible for an additional stipend to partially cover travel and housing. High school students must be at least in the 9th grade when applying for the program. High school students will receive community service hours for their participation in the internship, if requested. The high school program tuition is $150.00 for the entire eight-week program.

Program Components

College interns will meet Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. High school interns will meet Monday through Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

EDUCATION emphasizes community organizing, power, politics, cultural diversity, gender, and generational issues.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT entails interviewing skills, coalition building, facilitation, and strategic planning.

COMMUNITY PROJECTS provide an opportunity to organize around critical issues facing the Korean American community.

Tentative Curriculum

Session 1: Orientation
Session 2: Site Visits to Koreatown Organizations
Session 3: Korean American Pioneers
Session 4: Asian Gangs
Session 5: Retreat: Family Session
Session 6: Asian American Movement
Session 7: Workers’ Rights
Session 8: Asian Americans in Entertainment
Session 9: Saigu (1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest)
Session 10: Coalition Building
Session 11: Interview with Elected Official
Session 12: Korean American Adoptees
Session 13: Student-led Training
Session 14: Hate Crimes
Session 15: Personal Legacy

Application Timeline
Application Deadline: Rolling admission (email submission only)
Program Begins: June 18, 2018
Program Ends: August 10, 2018

Who is K.W. Lee?

K.W. Lee is a renowned journalist, having worked in the mainstream and ethnic media for 40 years as a reporter, editor, and publisher.  He has covered such issues as civil rights struggles in the South in the early 1960s, massive vote buying practices in southern West Virginia, and the plight of Appalachian coal miners, but he is best known for authoring an investigative series on the 1974 San Francisco Chinatown gangland murder conviction of immigrant Chol Soo Lee, upon which the film “True Believer” was based.  His five-year-long coverage with more than 120 articles led to a new trial and an eventual acquittal and release of the prisoner from San Quentin’s Death Row. 

Inspired by the lifetime of service of civil rights activist K.W. Lee, the Center reflects his passion for community consciousness and his dedication to fostering young leaders.  The mission of the Center is to train young people to take proactive steps toward improving and enriching the quality of life in their communities.

More Information

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Do Kim at (213) 321-7220 or at


"Individually we are powerless and dysfunctional. YOU must be the generation to create a new value system -- one of community consciousness -- to break away from the past." -K.W. Lee


KW Lee Writings

By K. W. Lee

A TRIBE, A PEOPLE OR A NATION is likely known or judged by its heroes by whom it reveres above all others.
Such is Abraham Lincoln, an icon of all humanity beyond borders.
So are Korean diaspora pioneers Dosan Ahn Chang Ho (Island Mountain) and Charles Ho (Nobody) Kim who are now among the pantheons of not only Korean but American heroes.
These towering figures from our American heritage share one common trait: They couldn’t afford attending a day in college.

Read more…