Kuala Lumpur, June 10, 2014 — On May 30-June 5, The Asia Foundation and Australia-Malaysia Institute (AMI) hosted the 2014 cohort of the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and Kuala Lumpur. Now in its fourth year, the annual, multi-day A2ELP program coincided with and included attendance at the 28th Asia-Pacific Roundtable (APR) convened annually by ISIS Malaysia.
Through the 2014 program, young leaders participated in the APR and engaged in strategic discussions on regional political, economic, and security challenges with the region’s most eminent experts; visited Sabah to experience and observe regional challenges and issues such as security, environment, and human trafficking in real time, as they are played out in communities, with local actors; and were coached and mentored in innovative leadership strategies which they applied to their own regional initiatives.
Drawing from key A2ELP learnings, participants collaborated to design initiatives around regional challenges and present project innovations to a panel of experts who assessed their viability and originality. Panel expert and Australian Ambassador to ASEAN Simon Merrifield remarked on the quality and diversity of the presentations: “The participants demonstrated a remarkable grasp of cross-regional themes and reflected the value of shared ideas. They worked together brilliantly to come up with innovative and viable solutions to profound challenges.”
The program, jointly funded by the Australian Government through the AMI and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Foundation and Genovasi, in cooperation with the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, brought together inspiring young leaders from Australia and South East Asia, representing the government, non-government, corporate, and media sectors, and exposed them to high-level discussions on contemporary issues; provided a forum to develop their understanding of regional issues and capacity as regional leaders; and built long-term, productive linkages with each other and with the region’s leading thinkers and specialists.
“The program provided a platform to grow as a young professional, discuss issues prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region, and work collaboratively with emerging leaders from Australia and the ASEAN region,” said A2ELP participant Angelica Casado.
The Foundation has supported emerging leaders for decades. This year, as the Foundation marks 60 years in Asia, the nonprofit continues this tradition in partnership with AMI by nurturing the next generation of leaders in their efforts to respond to the critical issues impacting ASEAN and Australia.