Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome! Thank you very much for taking the time to learn about the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative and the India-Pakistan 21 Regional Young Leaders Initiative. We hope that we have answered all your questions sufficiently. For any additional questions, please write to [email protected].

To go straight to the nomination sites, please click on the appropriate link:

To view frequently asked questions, scroll down or click on one of the links below:



What is it?

Founded in 2006, the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative creates an active network of leaders from every country in Asia and the United States to build relationships, engage in interdisciplinary dialogue and cultural exchange, and develop cooperative responses for addressing shared challenges.

Who should apply?

Anyone doing extraordinary work related to Asia and ready to join hands with counterparts in the Asia Pacific region. Asia 21 includes leaders from throughout Asia and the United States in diverse sectors including academia, arts & culture, business, civil society, government, law, media, public health, science & technology, and more. Successful candidates have demonstrated excellence in the field in which they are involved as well as a commitment to values-based leadership and public service. To view past classes of Asia 21 Young Leaders, click here.

Are there any eligibility requirements I should be aware of?

Yes. In order to be eligible, a candidate must:

  • Be a leader in their field;
  • Have demonstrated excellence in the field in which they are involved;
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to values-based leadership and public service;
  • Be age 40 or under; and
  • Be fluent in spoken and written English

What types of responsibilities are incumbent upon those chosen to become Asia 21 Young Leaders?

Selection as an Asia 21 Young Leader is not simply a form of recognition for extraordinary work; it does come with significant responsibilities in the year following selection of the new class. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consider whether they can commit to the following responsibilities before applying, as acceptance is contingent upon written acceptance of these commitments:

  • Attend the Class of 2014-15 Forum (December 3-5) and the 2014 Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit (December 5-7). Location and dates TBC.
  • Enact an Asia 21 Impact Project during the fellowship year that can benefit from interaction with others in the network.
  • Participate in monthly teleconferences with your classmates in the time leading up to and following the Forum and Summit.
  • Work together with other members of your class to select an organization to receive the 2014 Asia 21 Public Service Award, to be presented at the Summit in December. In addition, the Spring 2015 meeting of the class will be a visit to the Public Service Award winning organization to determine how the class can work together with them to advance their work.  Dates TBD.
  • Actively lead and engage in Asia 21 online activities and efforts to develop Asia 21 satellite programs in your home country.
  • Continue to actively engage with the network on joint projects for years to come.  

How does the selection process work?

All applications will be reviewed by an in-house committee, which will narrow the list from hundreds to a final 60. These finalists will then be reviewed by a separate selection committee, who will determine the final 30 candidates. The final 30 will then be approved by an Honorary Selection Committee consisting of renowned  leaders from across sectors.

Will you alert me if I am selected as a finalist, and if so, will I have to submit any additional documentation (aside from the application itself)?

We do not alert applicants of their status until the day the selection committee finalizes all decisions (see the timeline below for important dates). You will not be required to submit any additional documentation unless specifically requested by our team.

Does my nationality or area of work affect my chances of being chosen?

Applicants are chosen first and foremost on their merits, taking into account past accomplishments, current work, and capacity to collaborate on future projects. In selecting applicants, we do look to uphold Asia 21’s tradition of geographic, sectoral, and gender diversity, which we consider to be key to the overall success of the initiative.

How do I nominate someone or apply myself?

Visit and follow the instructions.

Move to TOP



Important: Those applying for the 2014-15 India-Pakistan 21 class should contact Ben Linden at [email protected] with any questions, as the application and selection process is different from the below, which pertains to the 2015-16 class of India-Pakistan 21, as well as the current 2014-15 classes of Asia 21 Young Leaders.

What is it?

A sub-initiative of the larger Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, India-Pakistan 21 seeks to help nurture a community of next generation leaders in India and Pakistan committed to working together to address the most fundamental issues facing their countries.

Who should apply?

Those working on cross-border issues between India and Pakistan are generally the best suited for India-Pakistan 21. Successful candidates have demonstrated excellence in the field in which they are involved as well as a commitment to values-based leadership and public service. To view past classes of India-Pakistan 21 fellows, click here.

Are there any eligibility requirements I should be aware of?

Yes. In order to be eligible, a candidate must:

  • Be a citizen of either India, Pakistan, or the United States;
  • Be fluent in spoken and written English; and
  • Be age 40 or under

What types of responsibilities are incumbent upon those chosen to become India-Pakistan 21 Young Leaders?

  • Attend an India-Pakistan 21 Forum and the annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit;
  • Collaboratively develop a cross-border Asia 21 Impact Project, as part of the community-building process;
  • Actively communicate via a specially dedicated section of the Asia 21 Young Leaders social networking site;
  • Join monthly meetings to discuss key challenges facing India-Pakistan bilateral relations and identify creative ways to transform those challenges into opportunities for continued engagement;
  • Commit to draft position papers/policy briefs on relevant topics on bi-monthly basis; and
  • Work with a media consultant to implement a broad media outreach strategy on the challenges of leadership for India and Pakistan that also highlights the profiles and work of the young leaders; and be connected to Asia 21 sector groups which link leaders from across Asia within particular sectors (media, government, business, arts, etc.)

How do I nominate someone or apply myself?

Visit and follow the directions.

Move to TOP



When do nominations and applications close? Are there other important dates I should be aware of?

Please see below for a general timeline for 2014-15. We will make every effort to keep this page current, but please be aware that some dates are subject to change.

Asia 21table new-page-001

How are Asia 21 and India-Pakistan 21 connected to each other?

India-Pakistan 21 is a regional and country-specific sub-initiative of the larger Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, and has a more localized focus, but which also feeds into the larger Asia 21 network. Representatives from India-Pakistan 21 are invited to attend the annual Asia 21 Summit, where they convene along with members of the larger Asia 21 Initiative from across Asia and the United States.

Can I apply for more than one initiative?

Yes, as long as you meet eligibility requirements for all initiatives that you are applying to. (See “eligibility requirements” above.)

How many people can I nominate?

As many as you want.

Do nominees have to be from my home country?

No. You may nominate anyone who meets eligibility requirements. (See “eligibility requirements” above.)

I do not know who nominated me! Can you tell me?

We do not share this information. Nominators are welcome to inform their nominees about their nomination, but if they choose not to, we respect their decision.

Do I have to be nominated in order to apply?

No. Simply visit the nomination sites and write “SELF” next to “Nominator” and “Nominator e-mail address”.

Am I at a disadvantage if I nominate myself or apply directly, rather than being nominated by someone else?

No. Nominations help us reach the best possible candidates, but have no bearing on the selection process.

What materials will I need to submit when applying?

Our application is fairly straightforward. In addition to basic personal and contact information, we will ask you to submit the following:

  • A brief personal bio
  • An Asia 21 Impact Project proposal (details available on the application site)
  • ONE letter of recommendation

Does my letter of recommendation have to come from the person who nominated me?

No. It can come from the nominator, but it does not have to.

Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

Successful candidates are leaders in their fields, so the best recommendations come from those who can vouch for this. Often this will mean that the recommender him or herself is a recognized leader in the same field.

May I submit more than one letter of recommendation as part of my application?

No. We will only review one letter for recommendation per candidate, so please choose your recommender carefully.

What is the deadline for letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation must be received before the application deadline. Letters of recommendation received after the application deadline will not be accepted. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that references receive the email soliciting a letter of recommendation and submit their letters in a timely manner.

May recommenders write letters of recommendation in languages other than English?

We only accept letters of recommendation in English. You may need to pay for translation services if your nominator or reference is unable to submit a letter in English.

How long is the commitment for those accepted into Asia 21 and India-Pakistan 21?

There is a year-long commitment to actively engage with your class of Young Leaders, including undertaking the responsibilities listed under each initiative. However, we fully expect that you will continue to remain engaged with the network and with your fellow Young Leaders for years to come.

How many Young Leaders are chosen for each initiative?

Currently, new classes are comprised of the following numbers of new Young Leaders, chosen from among hundreds of applicants, though these numbers are subject to change:

  • Asia 21: 30
  • India-Pakistan 21: 12-15

Is there a limit to the number of times I can apply for the above initiatives?

No. You may apply as many times as you wish. These are highly competitive initiatives, and we have to turn down many qualified individuals each year, so applying again in following years is encouraged!

Is funding available to cover travel to the annual Asia 21 Summit?

We ask those who are able to cover their own travel expenses to do so. For those most in need, we do have a limited fund for travel grants subject to funding.

Move to TOP

Comments are closed.