Siem Reap to Host the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Regional Exchange Workshop: “YSEALI Generation: EARTH”

Released on April 17, 2015

Seventy-two young Southeast Asian leaders between the ages of 18 to 25, representing all 10 ASEAN member countries, will come together for the “YSEALI Generation: EARTH” workshop from April 22-25, 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The workshop and exchange initiative, funded by a grant through the Embassy of the United States in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and administered by Cultural Vistas and the Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia, Siem Reap Campus, is part of President Obama’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).

The focus of the YSEALI Generation regional exchange workshop is to foster a deeper understanding of challenges to the environment facing the ASEAN region and beyond. The four-day event will build leadership skills, network opportunities, and provide the mentorship and means for young Southeast Asians to effectively collaborate to address these environmental challenges.

U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia William E. Todd, Cambodian Secretary of State for the Ministry of Education H.E. Dr. Im Koch, and Cambodian Minister of Environment H.E. Say Samal will speak at the workshop’s opening ceremony, on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22.

The four-day workshop will include a series of lectures on regional and global environmental issues, interactive discussions, and field trips around the Siem Reap province that will illustrate the lessons discussed and demonstrate the cultural resources Cambodia is striving to protect against the ills of unsustainable growth and climate change.

The young Southeast Asian leaders participating in the workshop will be divided into 12 multi-national teams guided by two ‘Leader Mentors’ – one representing ASEAN and one from the United States.

The group will focus on enhancing skills by applying them to real-world situations. They will develop action plans to address environmental issues and jointly carry out the solution across the region. At the end of the workshop, the young leaders will be equipped to help prepare their communities for the changing planet through a more collaborative approach on environmental sustainability.

The YSEALI workshop will also give participants the opportunity to learn about the U.S.-ASEAN partnership and develop skills in advocacy, outreach, project management, and resource and partnership development.

Following the workshop, all multi-national teams will be eligible to receive a $1,250 seed grant to implement their action plans, with the team voted as having the top plan earning the opportunity to travel to the United States and take part in the YSEALI Environmental Leadership U.S. Study Tour later this fall. Additionally, two workshop participants who show the most promise in environmental advocacy and social media outreach will earn internships at NGOs in the United States.

YSEALI is part of the United States’ continued commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to two-thirds of the world’s population and among the world’s fastest growing economies.

President Obama made the strategic decision at the beginning of his Administration to rebalance U.S. foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific, recognizing that the future prosperity and security of the nation is linked to that of the Asia-Pacific. The United States is building upon its active and enduring presence in the region as a Pacific nation.

About the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)

Launched in 2013, YSEALI is President Barack Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development across ASEAN, deepen engagement with young leaders on key regional and global challenges, and strengthen people-to-people ties between the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Recognizing that over 65% of ASEAN’s population is under the age of 35, YSEALI is a critical investment in the next generation of Southeast Asian leaders.