This was addressed by the US Ambassador to ASEAN, Nina Hachigian yesterday to the participants of Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Summit 2016 in Luang Prabang, Laos, where five Bruneian youths took part in the event.
“YSEALI programme is ultimately successful because of the talent and dedication of the participants. You’re doing amazing work at your home countries and in the region,” she said, addressing the participants.
The US Ambassador to ASEAN added, “As president Obama said in the YSEALI town hall in Vietnam just a few months ago, we need your passion and your energy and talents to tap some of the world’s biggest challenges, whether it’s reducing poverty, advancing equalities for women and girls, fighting climate change. “
She added that as YSEALI alumni, they are also ambassadors for ASEAN and the programme is a powerful network for members to stay connected and explore future opportunities and is has now recorded almost 100,000 members.
“So take advantage of what you learn here, brainstorm ideas and solutions, go back to your country, stay in touch, and get together in making a difference to the community. “
Hachigian also disclosed that YSEALI is planning to organize a regional workshop on eco-entrepreneurship in Brunei next year, apart from other programmes such as women’s leadership programme to be held in Jakarta and urban development workshop in Singapore, where YSEALI members will have the opportunity to join it.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Brunei Times, Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues at the US Department of State Andy Rabens, said, “I found that young people across ASEAN are energetic. They bring a lot of energy and optimistic about the future. I see a positive future in the ASEAN region. And with the collaboration amongst them who want to work together across issues to solve.”
Rabens also addressed that it is time young leaders of ASEAN to connect with their counterparts to discuss potential solutions.
“For example, issues in Malaysia might be faced the same in Laos. So it is important to figuring out common problems.”
Members under the network have shown that it is a programme worth continuing forward and the YSEALI has been assured that it will be continued even after President Obama will leave office at the end of this year.
Rabens emphasized President Obama’s commitment in nurturing leaders in the ASEAN region as 65 per cent of its population is under the age of 35 as stated by the ASEAN Secretariat. Therefore, they are deemed important as they will define the Asia Pacific region for decades to come, “so their full participation in solving global challenges is critical to the development and prosperity of the region.”
Source: The Brunei Times | 07 September 2016