Participants in the LEAD ASEAN Youth Summit. Source: U.S. Embassy - Manila

Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Announced by U.S. President Obama

ASEAN The Mekong

On December 3, 2013, U.S. President Obama announced the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). The new initiative of the U.S. Government is an investment in ASEAN's youth and seeks to "expand and institutionalize extensive diplomatic and programmatic engagment throughout Southeast Asia aimed at empowering the next generation of leaders."

Examples of existing U.S.-ASEAN engagement that the initiative is building upon include:

  • The LEAD ASEAN Youth Summit in Manila at which 150 youth delegates work together to generate solutions to transnational challenges such as climate change, youth unemployment, and trafficking in persons;
  • The Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program which brings teenagers from all 10 ASEAN countries to the United States to promote civic responsibility and community service;
  • The Ambassador Youth Councils across Southeast Asia which allow young people to interact with top U.S. officials and the global policy-making environment;
  • The Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Initiative which secures exchanges of scholars between the U.S. and ASEAN focused on regional priorities;
  • The Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which convenes entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and government officials from Southeast Asia and around the world;
  • The Mekong Technology Innovation Generation and Entrepreneurship Resources(TIGERS@Mekong), which helps innovators connect with venture capitalists to bring their business ideas to market;
  • The Brunei-U.S. English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN, which assists local English language teachers' skills;
  • The ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program, which encourages young volunteers to serve their communities;
  • The ASEAN International Visitor Leadership Program, which will bring emerging leaders from ASEAN to the U.S. to examine regional economic cooperation in Southeast Asia;
  • The Higher Education Partnerships program, which will advance democratic rights, transparent govenance, inclusive economic growth, food security, and health for Burma/Myanmar; and
  • The Mindanao Youth for Development program, which provides quality workforce development and life skills.

The President's announcement of the YSEALI initiative, recorded here by the U.S. Embassy - Manila, was broadcast to youth and dignitaries throught ASEAN.