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ALT: An Overview

Background

Established in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2014, the Center for Asia Leadership is a group of non-profit international organizations that addresses public needs and problems in Asia through research, development, training, and publication initiatives in the areas of public leadership, entrepreneurship and education in Asia. The birth of our center was sparked by the hope of connecting the vast educational resources at Harvard University with individuals and organizations in Asia who are working to address the core challenges of the 21st century.

The Asia Leadership Trek (ALT) is a signature program organized under the auspices of the Center for Asia Leadership devoted to learning and service. Treks are held in January, March, and June of each year on themes that explore high-profile and cutting edge issues that are facing the region. Through these unique socio-economic and political tours, ALT provides an understanding of political, economic, educational, and societal issues through engagement with government and business leaders, educational figures, entrepreneurs, and students.  At the same time, ALT seeks to meaningfully engage with local communities and contribute to their capacity to face and solve real-world challenges.

First Goal: Learning

ALT aims to provide first-hand insights through an experiential journey in which participants investigate political, economic, and societal issues. These investigations are done through direct engagement with relevant leaders and organizations. As a previous trekker, a term used to refer to students who participate in our programs, once remarked after a meeting with the Finance Minister of Singapore, “I think I learned more in one meeting than I did in an entire year of finance classes.” The program enables students to have a role in immediate and important challenges faced by both government and business leaders.

Second Goal: Service

Trekkers are tasked with developing content for forums, workshops, and talks based on what they have studied, are passionate about, and deem crucial to tackle 21st century challenges. The focus is on engaging with local communities while giving trekkers an opportunity to practice leadership. There is a semester-long required preparation program consisting of three sessions to help trekkers prepare for the delivery of their workshops and talks. The preparation program aims to develop communication skills, sound decision making ability, and a deeper understanding of education. Trekkers develop the content they will deliver at the knowledge forums and conferences during the trek.