Press Release: USAID and YSEALI Promote Youth Innovation to Tackle ASEAN Food Security

Innovation Challenge Technology Bootcamp

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

SINGAPORE, July 5, 2016 – Today the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), in partnership with technology giants Cisco and Intel, announced the beginning of the final stage in the student competition to develop innovative technology solutions for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s World of Food Innovation Challenge.

“This Challenge is creating a space where young leaders in the region can share their passion and ideas about addressing some of the region’s greatest challenges,” said Nina Hachigian, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN.  “Innovation can be a real game changer here in ASEAN on an important issue like food security.”

The YSEALI World of Food Innovation Challenge invited youth in the region to submit their technology solutions to challenges in agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries. The top 10 semifinalist teams joined a three-day Innovation Challenge Technology Bootcamp in Singapore this week to gain skills needed to develop and pitch their solutions.

“Addressing regional challenges requires participation from all sectors of society, across all borders,” said Todd Sorenson, acting director of the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia. “The YSEALI Innovation Challenge is a model for how governments, industry, educational institutions and young people can collaborate to create meaningful impact.”

The YSEALI World of Food Innovation Challenge is implemented by the USAID Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training project and the USAID-managed ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security project in partnership with Cisco and Intel.

“As we move into the age of digitization where technology connects everything and everyone, we are committed to creating a generation of global problem solvers who innovate like technologists, think like entrepreneurs, and act as social change agents,” said Sandy Walsh, Director of Social Innovation Group in Asia Pacific, Cisco Systems.

“Intel offers expertise in helping young people in innovation and ideation skills through the opportunity to work on real challenges,” said Dr. Anjan Ghosh, Intel’s Regional Director of Corporate Affairs for Asia-Pacific & Japan. “The rapidly changing economy requires technology literacy, work readiness skills and the ability to make ideas relevant, scalable, and sustainable.”

Following this week’s training by Cisco and Intel, successful teams will be invited to present at the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology Meeting in Cambodia in October. The grand prize for the winning team will be a study trip to technology hubs in the United States and a visit to Washington, D.C. in early 2017.