Launched in 2013, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the 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, environmental issues, and entrepreneurship and economic development.
We believe that young people are instrumental in plotting the course of Southeast Asia’s future. Approximately 65% of people in the ASEAN region are under the age of 35. Youth are innovative, creative, and eager to contribute their ideas and energy to improve not only their own lives, but the lives of others in their communities. Together, we can make a difference.
YSEALI Seeds for the Future is a small grants competition to support innovative initiatives in Southeast Asia. It provides funding for the region’s most promising young leaders to carry out projects that improve their communities, countries, and the region across the program themes of Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment and Social Entrepreneurship, Education, and Environmental Issues.
YSEALI Regional Workshops provide networking, mentoring, hands-on training, and the tools necessary to lead communities in addressing economic, environmental, educational, and civic engagement issues. By visiting one of the 11 YSEALI countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam), young leaders develop an appreciation for the similarities and differences of each other’s culture.
YSEALI Academic and Professional Fellows invite students, young professionals, and mid-career community organizers to the United States to deepen their knowledge about regional issues and share their experiences.
YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) offers executive-level seminars for entry to mid-level professionals around the themes of technology/innovation, public policy and entrepreneurship. Participation is open to applicants who are citizens and residents of: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste or Vietnam who are between the ages of 25-35 (YSEALI alumni status is not required), OR between the ages of 36-40 (YSEALI alumni status is required). The YSEALI Academy at FUV offers three flagship seminars addressing challenging issues facing the region such as energy economics and policy, contemporary cybersecurity challenges and opportunities and fundamentals of startup investing in Southeast Asia.
YSEALI Social Media and youth-to-youth outreach campaigns, which include YSEALI Grants Program and YSEALI CONNECT Program, link U.S. embassies, young leaders, and communities together to collaborate and respond collectively to shared ASEAN challenges.
Other Benefits include attending speaker programs, joining cultural performance events, interacting with top U.S. leaders. Past YSEALI members have met U.S. ambassadors, the U.S. Secretary of State, and even the President of the United States
You need to be a YSEALI member to apply for YSEALI programs.