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United States Hosts Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Summit in Phnom Penh on Economic Empowerment

Phnom Penh, December 9, 2022 — The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh hosted the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, December 6-8, 2022. This year’s Summit, implemented by The Asia Foundation, was the first in-person YSEALI Summit since 2019.

One hundred fifty emerging leaders from all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and Timor-Leste participated in skill-building workshops, networking, and activities focused on economic empowerment. YSEALI seeks to strengthen the partnership between the United States and ASEAN and supports emerging young leaders across Southeast Asia.

Inside YSEALI summit conference room

Participants explored ways to expand regional collaboration, advanced their leadership and business development skills, and learned from successful Southeast Asian entrepreneurs and experts.

“Together, you are supporting inclusive economic opportunities. Helping end this pandemic and prevent, detect, and respond to future health emergencies–giving communities tools to adapt to a changing climate, like more frequent droughts and more intense hurricanes. The YSEALI program is a powerful way to bring together our people, particularly our young people, so that they can share information, ideas, and solutions with one another,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in pre-recorded opening remarks.

During the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in May 2022, President Biden announced YSEALI will double in size in the next three years. The YSEALI Summit highlights the strength of our people-to-people ties and our commitment to the sociocultural pillar under the U.S.-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Since its inception in 2013, the YSEALI network has grown to more than 155,000 members.

During the Summit, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh launched “Community Catalysts,” a small grants program for participants, which will fund the young leaders’ most compelling project proposals for implementation across ASEAN in the coming year.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region is focused on good governance, women’s empowerment and gender equality, inclusive economic growth, environment, and climate action, and regional and international relations.

Learn more about the Foundation’s work.

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Follow Summit highlights at #YSEALICambodia2022 and @YSEALI_official. 

Related locations: Cambodia
Related programs: Leadership & Exchanges
Related topics: YSEALI

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Media contact

Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
[email protected]

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