Youth join US government’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative

MANILA — One hundred and fifty people gathered last night for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Networking Night at A_Space in Makati, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is a White House initiative designed to promote leadership skills, stimulate ASEAN networking, and deepen engagement on key regional and global challenges.

The United States Embassy in Manila organized the event to introduce the new initiative to Filipino youth and encourage them to become a member. Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Brian L. Goldbeck welcomed the guests and opened the event with an overview of YSELI.

John Tobit Cruz, a YSEALI member, shared his experience as the project lead of the YSEALI-funded project “Streams of Hope,” a joint river rehabilitation project between the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. Several guests joined a “Pitch Slam,” where they practiced giving a 1-minute pitch of an idea within the four pillars of YSEALI: Economic Development, Education, Civic Engagement, and Environmental Protection. Guests also enjoyed free prints of their pictures from tweets and Instagram posts with the #YSEALI hashtag.

In the coming months many activities are planned for YSEALI members including the Generation Workshops aimed at developing a regional network of youth in ASEAN countries to collaborate on solving common challenges and creating new opportunities; YSEALI Youth Summits where cross-regional teams present proposals to tackle economic, environmental, education and civic engagement challenges to leaders in business, government, and civil society and share their perspectives on regional issues; and the YSEALI Seeds for the Future grants competition, which provides funding for many of these teams to implement their ideas.

Additionally, YSEALI Talks allow young leaders to share their ideas, initiatives, and innovations while YSEALI Connects expands opportunities for those in Southeast Asia to participate in new State Department-organized exchange programs in the United States. YSEALI Online virtually connects young leaders across the region and offers an array of resources, networking opportunities, and trainings.#