NHA TRANG, December 2, 2022 – Today, the 2022 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Regional Workshop: Marine Warriors kicks off in the coastal city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province. U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Yohannes Abraham, Standing Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa People’s Committee Le Huu Hoang joined the opening ceremony to welcome 100 young Southeast Asian leaders from 10 ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste.
This year’s YSEALI Regional Workshop brings together youth from all ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste between the ages of 18 and 25 to Nha Trang from December 1-6. The participants were selected among 1,300 applicants for their dedication to community, volunteerism, and strong leadership skills. Fifteen youth from across Vietnam participated in the workshop.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the YSEALI regional workshop, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Yohannes Abraham noted: “Looking out at the beautiful waters off of Nha Trang, one cannot help but think about what we will lose if we don’t take better care of our marine ecosystems. Each year, 11 million metric tons of plastic pollution enter our oceans. This rate is expected to double by the end of this decade and triple by 2040 – threatening the world’s delicate marine ecosystems, major industries such as fishing and tourism, food security, and ultimately, human health.”
During the workshop, participants will engage in interactive activities including group workshops, panel discussions, and a field trip. They will collaborate to identify potential short and long-term solutions and strategies to address environmental changes in Vietnam’s coastal regions, and other marine/freshwater environments in Southeast Asia.
Participants will be equipped with game development technologies to create solutions for marine environmental degradation via game production. They will also develop ideas on how to engage their communities in protecting the environment and forge new relationships with young leaders from neighboring countries to jointly implement community projects. The workshop will also provide participants an opportunity to learn about the U.S.-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and develop skills in leadership, project management, entrepreneurship, and digital communication.
Fifteen experts in tourism, fisheries, climate change, and waste management for coastal communities mentored the young leaders during workshops. The mentors include the Director of Climate Action Network Southeast Asia, the Co-founder of Set-Jetters, and researchers from the University of Oslo, Norway, and the University of Nha Trang.
The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is a U.S. Department of State’s flagship program designed to advance regional strategic goals by providing the young generation with networking, mentoring, hands-on training, and the tools necessary to lead communities in addressing economic, environmental, educational, and civic engagement issues.
The 2022 YSEALI Regional Workshop: Marine Warriors is funded by the U.S. State Department and implemented by World Learning.