• George W. Bush Institute

    George W. Bush Institute

  • Through our three Impact Centers -- Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda -- we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

Liberty and Leadership Forum 2016 Program Application

Thank you for your interest in the Liberty and Leadership Forum.  Please read the information below and submit the online application no later than Friday, February 12, 2016.

The Liberty and Leadership Forum 2016 is open to young leaders from Burma (Myanmar).  See below for eligibility details.


In a major policy address, President George W. Bush once said, “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. Our goal … is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.”

The Liberty and Leadership Forum is an innovative educational and training program that equips Young Leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed during a democratic transition.

The program includes more than 100 hours of training around three topics of study:  the principles of liberal democracy and free market economics, lessons from other democratic transitions, and practical leadership and management skills. Leading scholars and experts provide world-class instruction.

The program has four main components:

  1. U.S.-based seminar. An initial three-week visit to the United States gives Young Leaders first-hand experience of life in a mature democracy.  An intensive seminar in Dallas covers the three topics of study.  A short experience tour of Washington, DC, highlights key themes.
  2. In-country trainings. After Young Leaders return to their home country, one or more trainings are held to reinforce knowledge and skills introduced in Dallas.  Trainings typically take place over a long weekend.
  3. Capstone experience and graduation. At the end of the program, Young Leaders return to Dallas for a final week of site visits and job shadowing to demonstrate key principles and leadership skills in action. Participants receive certificates of completion and join the alumni network.
  4. Personal leadership projects.  Original Personal Leadership Projects apply the knowledge and skills learned in the program.   While individual projects will vary, each Young Leader will choose a project that meets these criteria:
    • You are the leader.
    • The project is important to you.
    • The project has a specific goal.
    • The project has the potential to achieve measurable results.
    • The project is about accelerating democratic progress or change.
    • The project involves other people.


The Liberty and Leadership Forum is a program for Young Leaders who have the desire and motivation to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to contribute to their country’s democratic transition.  The class of 2016 will be made up of young leaders from Burma (Myanmar).  Men and women who meet the following qualifications are eligible to apply:

  • Myanmar citizens/passport holders, or individuals born in Myanmar but currently living  on the Thai-Burma border
  • Between the ages of 25 and 45
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the English language
  • From one of more of the following sectors of civil society: civic engagement, public service/politics, media/journalism, law, academia/public policy research

Young leaders who will be most successful in the program share certain characteristics:

  • Socially Minded – Young leaders who are willing and eager to take actions to improve society
  • Eager to Receive Feedback – Young leaders who seek, humbly accept, and actively respond to feedback
  • Accepting of Diverse Points of View – Young leaders who welcome opportunities to interact with and learn from others with different backgrounds or perspectives.
  • Demonstrated Leadership – Young leaders who already have a demonstrated record of leadership in society and are interested in building on that record
  • In Positions of Influence – Young leaders who are already in positions, or soon to be in positions, where they can demonstrate leadership and effect change.
  • Committed to the Program – The Liberty and Leadership Forum is rigorous and intense. Young leaders are expected to attend all sessions and be active participants and contributors. 



For Young Leaders admitted in 2016, the tentative schedule of events is as follows:

October 2016     U.S.-based seminar (Dallas and Washington, DC, 3 weeks)

January 2017      In-country training #1 (Yangon, 3-4 days)

March 2017         In-country training #2 (Mandalay, 3-4 days)

May/June 2017 Capstone and graduation (Dallas, 1 week)


The George W. Bush Institute will cover the costs of roundtrip coach air travel, tuition, housing, and meals for participants in the program.  Upon acceptance to the program, Young Leaders will sign a commitment that they can attend all program sessions.


Participants must submit completed applications and one letter of reference by Friday, February 12, 2016, in order to be considered for the program. 

Finalists will be notified in late February and invited to participate in in-person interviews in Yangon in early March 2016.  Videoconferencing may be an option for some finalists.

Final selections and notifications will be made in April 2016. 

If you are unable to complete the application online because you do not have regular, reliable access to the Internet, please email humanfreedom@bushcenter.org.

Thank you for your interest in the Liberty and Leadership Forum.