US Pres. Obama meets Filipino youth leaders in Malaysia

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

MANILA (PIA) — Some 500 young leaders from all ten ASEAN nations, including 65 Filipino youth delegates meet U.S. President Barack Obama today at a town hall meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This is part of the U.S. Department of State’s three-day 2015 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Summit.

According to US Embassy Kurt Hoyer at the town hall, youth delegates will discuss with President Obama the challenges facing Southeast Asia and how young people can work together across national borders to develop solutions.

“While one voice can have a meaningful impact on the world, the combination of 400 million youth voices across the ASEAN region can have a transformative impact on the pressing challenges of the day,” said Andy Rabens, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues for the U.S. Department of State.

Rabens said “Connecting youth voices across the ASEAN region is part of the reason why President Obama launched YSEALI in 2013 and why the U.S government is hosting the YSEALI Summit this week in Kuala Lumpur. More than 50,000 people have signed up online to be part of our YSEALI network, demonstrating that there is huge interest among young people in Southeast Asia in working cooperatively to solve regional challenges.”

The town hall will be broadcast live via satellite at 4:00 PM from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The 2015 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Summit, held November 19 – 22, will be the largest gathering of the State Department’s YSEALI network to date.

At the summit, more than 40 experts from the United States and ASEAN countries will lead the training sessions, including private-sector leaders from Accenture, AirAsia, Foundation, Coca-Cola, Dell, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Malaysia Global Innovation & Creativity Center (MaGIC), Microsoft, Startup Malaysia, Techstars, Uber Malaysia, and more, said Hoyer.

Launched by President Obama in 2013, YSEALI creates opportunities for young ASEAN leaders to engage with peers from around the region to develop innovative, local solutions for their generation’s greatest regional challenges: economic development, environmental protection, civic engagement, and education.

YSEALI provides professional and academic skills-building and opportunities to put those skills into action through exchanges to the United States, professional development workshops in the region, online networking, and project seed money.

Any ASEAN youth between the ages of 18 and 35 can join YSEALI for free at  Today, the YSEALI network engages nearly 50,000 ASEAN youth, including more than 7,000 Filipino young leaders.

Filipino delegates to the Summit are comprised of bright young leaders, 18–35 years old, who are winners of the YSEALI Seeds for the Future grant competition, alumni of YSEALI Academic and Professional Fellows exchanges to the United States, or participants in regional YSEALI Generation workshops.  (mbcn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/with reports from the US Embassy/This article was first published at PIA website on November 20, 2015 at PIA Website)


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