Asatouri, 18, will join 400 other high school students from around
the country for the National Young Leaders Conference in the nation's
capital, from Saturday to July 19 as they build leadership skills
through mock Congress and Supreme Court meetings, workshops and
listening to speakers working in politics, media and international
"That's the main goal in my life: to be a leader," Asatouri said.
The 4.0 grade-point average student at Burbank High School has dreams
of being the president of a large organization or business, though
she admits her interest in politics is limited.
But when she heard about the National Young Leaders Conference she
applied the next day and used $3,000 saved from part-time jobs to pay
"I want to come back with a lot of knowledge of how people in high
positions achieved their positions," Asatouri said. "That's very
important, because in the future I want to be somebody important
To comprehend what it means to be a leader and the decisions
facing one, the students will engage in a role-playing activity
called "If I were President." Students will act as president and
cabinet members responding to an international crisis.
"We had the problem of United States ambassadors being
assassinated," said Soo Ho Park, 16, who attended the conference last
He was president and had to decide whether to act with military
force against the country that assassinated the ambassadors or keep
the U.S. out of war.
"There was a great deal of pressure because of the two losses that
we had", Soo Ho said. "After I took everyone's input, I talked with
my secretary [of state]. That's where I was able to get the full
experience of the pressure."
Soo Ho decided not to go to war but after the exercise, he really
understood what decision making processes a leader sometimes goes
through, he said.
"The leadership experience is great and you loose the fear of
speaking in front of people," Soo Ho said.
That's exactly what Asatouri is hoping to get and she also looks
forward to meeting new people and exploring a new city, she said.