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Check back in January of 2018 for applications for our High School and College National Student Congresses to be held in June of 2018 

The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship imparts the skills of public dialogue and leadership to bring about change in an increasingly polarizing environment. The flagship endeavor gathers exceptional high school and college students from every region to engage in Student Congresses where next-generation leaders and public servants learn the lost art of negotiation, goodwill, and compromise.

“After attending the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship, I had the opportunity to study at Oxford, and I felt like once I had met everyone in our team, I was able to go out and truly represent America and our ideals.”
– Ananya Khan Gudidevuni

What is the Student Congress?

The week-long Student Congresses gather fifty college or high school students together with lawmakers, academics, journalists, and business leaders to discuss the importance of applying the art of compromise in every aspect of their activities. Carefully-chosen guest speakers engage with the students throughout the week. Curriculum is designed by the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and by Dr. Michael Cairo and his team at Transylvania University, and capped off with a debate in the Old State Capitol.  Students will also tour the Ashland Estate (Henry Clay’s home), visit the Council for State Government’s national office, and participate in dinners and discussions.

When & Where are the Student Congresses?

Separate High School and College Student Congresses will be held on the campuses of Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

High School: June 4th-10th, 2017

College: June 11th-17th, 2017

Why apply?

Alumni cite the Student Congress as transformative in their outlook, setting many on paths of leadership and service.  After less than a decade, many have gone on to successful careers as staffers in the United States Senate and House, state government, and in private sector positions at law firms, NGO’s and leading US corporations.  In addition to a tremendous alumni network, the Student Congress allows attendees to:

  • Develop lasting bonds with best and brightest aspiring leaders from across the country.
  • Hone your speaking, writing and negotiation skills.
  • Build your leadership abilities.
  • Bolster your credentials for College and Graduate School.


Who may apply?

High School program – Juniors

College program – Juniors

What is the Cost?

There is NO cost. The Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship covers all costs for students to participate: meals, accommodations, costs associated with other activities, and travel for those traveling by plane. Students will be housed in a residence hall at Transylvania University with residential supervision provided by resident advisors.

Specific Information for the High School Student Congress

50 high school students will be selected through a screening process based on their application materials that includes:

  • An application form
  • Two short application essays (250 words each)
  • A copy of their transcript
  • Evidence of at least one standardized test score (PSAT, ACT, or SAT) if available.
  • Teacher recommendation

*To view the high school application click here*

Deadline for application is February 28, 2017

When will I be notified?

The final selection will be made by a committee composed of senior representatives of the Center’s partners. Special attention will be given to leadership abilities and potential of the candidates. The Executive Director of HCCS will announce the names of the selected participants and will extend the official invitations and corresponding instructions to attend the Congress by April 1.

Specific Information for the College Student Congress

This year, the senior U.S. senator from each state will nominate one student from their state to attend the college student congress. Please contact your senior U.S. senator if you are interested. After a student is nominated, they must complete the application process.  All students who are nominated for the student congress will be asked to:

  • Complete an application form
  • Provide a statement of interest
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit an unofficial transcript

*To view the college application click here*

Deadline for nominations is February 28, 2017. Student applications  will be due March 10. Appointment letters will be sent by March 24 and student commitments and arrangements will be confirmed by April 6, 2017.

For questions or concerns email:

 “A different perspective, a melding of ideas…Learning that at a young age before graduating college was really inspirational, and something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
– Karly Moen, North Dakota