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Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community. YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: civic engagement, environment and natural resources management, and entrepreneurship and economic development.
In 2017, 42 amazing participants from throughout South East Asia spent 6 weeks travelling throughout the States of Arizona and California, and Washington DC. While stationed in Arizona, the participants studied Civic Engagement (CE) and Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (SEED). The world-class academic faculty enhanced their practical experience with volunteer opportunities and presentations from local community leaders. Each weekend, presented itself as a distinct opportunity for growth as we travelled through the mountains of Northern Arizona, the Beaches of San Diego, the Golden Gate of San Francisco, and our Great Nation’s Capital.
We had the privilege of doing a grant writing congress, in the fall of 2016, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with our first cohort of YSEALI SEED participants. This four day congress yielded great results. Many of the participants leveraged the skill learned through the congress to secure funding for their respective charities and non-profits.