Cambodia is hosting the YSEALI Summit 2022 for the first time, bringing together 150 alumni from across ASEAN nations and Timor-Leste to discuss economic empowerment following Covid-19.
The summit aims to provide the next generation of Southeast Asian leaders with the opportunity to build networks, exchange thoughts, and come up with answers to current problems on the topic of promoting sustainable economic development in ASEAN.
It will take place from December 6 to 9.
Sarim Mardi, YSEALI Alumni Coordinator, said that the initiative intends to stimulate the economy and give a chance to participants to gain knowledge from experts in the ASEAN region and the United States.
Former YSEALI will also get an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and build connections with other participants, he added.
“After taking part, participants will have more understanding in enhancing the economic sector in Cambodia and ASEAN region,” he said. “Also, they can utilise it to advance their careers in their home nations, and they can gain connections.”
Camille Dawson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, said that the United States and Southeast Asian nations have a shared commitment to strengthening people-to-people connections through programs that engage ASEAN and U.S. citizens, especially youth.
YSEALI is the heart of that relationship, she added.
“Your participation in YSEALI has given you first-hand experiences and perspectives about the relationship between our countries,” she said. “We value the role that you all play in understanding and building ties between our people and our countries.”
She added that strengthening ties between the United States and the people of the Asia-Pacific region is a critical component of U.S. foreign policy goals as doing so can address common global challenges.
Besides that, the United States also supports efforts to enable women to hold prominent leadership positions within the ASEAN Community, Yohannes Abraham, the U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said.
“Economics only research their full potential if every individual is empowered to be full contributors including women and men, people with disabilities and people of different ethnic backgrounds,” he said.
Alumni of YSEALI
Nikki Phinyapincha, a founder of Trantalents, said that YSEALI is life-changing since it helped to advance her project - the most crucial aspect of which is how to put it into action - rather than merely talking about it and pitching it.
“You can have a dream, but a dream without work is nothing,” she said. So, that’s a way that YSEALI changed me. Because coming back to Thailand, I got the partnerships to work on and further my project. That would put me more in touch with the thing that I have dreamed of and planned. Now it seems to be in action, and it will make a better impact on a group of people, particularly LGBT.”
Montha Kanika, a 2019 alumni, said that YEASLI gave her the opportunity to learn through the speakers' and participants' sharing of experience and knowledge, and she can then apply that knowledge and ideas in her nation.
“Most importantly, the YSEALI offers an opportunity and funds to run a project,” she said. “So, by taking part in YSEALI, we have the chance to study, gain skills, develop skills, build networks, and implement the project.”
As the YSEALI program aims to enable the young to develop their language, soft skills, leadership, and many other abilities involved with a portion of social life skills, she hopes to see youth actively participate in it, she said.
After participating in the YSEALI program, she has successfully managed two projects on her own, she added.