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Developing Human Capital
April 1, 2022

The United States partners with ASEAN to reinforce human capital development as an essential part of the economic recovery efforts and ASEAN’s transition to the digital economy.  The United States has demonstrated time and again our commitment to help ASEAN governments protect the vulnerable, provide opportunities for women and promote gender equality, and mainstream human rights. The United States promotes policies and practices that secure ASEAN communities, develop human capital, and deepen people-to-people ties between U.S. and ASEAN citizens. These efforts align with the second broad strategy of the ACRF, “Strengthening Human Security.”  Learn more about the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Strategy here.

Human Capital Development

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen human capital development in Southeast Asia. YSEALI is open to young people from all ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste. There are more than 6,000 alumni of YSEALI programs, and nearly 150,000 young people belong to the YSEALI Network. Learn more about YSEALI here.

State Department provided $5 million to establish the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam to educate the next generation of Southeast Asian leaders in technology and innovation, public policy, and entrepreneurship. Since 2013, more than 150,000 young leaders from across ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste have participated in YSEALI through U.S. exchanges, regional workshops and programs, and the virtual YSEALI Network. The United States has supported YSEALI with $51 million to date]. Learn more about YSEALI here.

The United States provides on-line training and support for ASEAN workers and SMEs affected by the COVID-19 crisis through programs like the U.S.- ASEAN Internship ProgramASEAN Online SME Academyand the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network. 

BUILD-IT’s overall goal is to establish a sustainable, industry government-academic alliance that will invest strategically and collaboratively to create a dynamic innovation ecosystem to engage science, technology, engineering and mathematics students, faculty, industry and government. Through collaborative dialogue, the “BUILD-IT” Alliance will in institutional policy, academic programs, experiential and applied curricula and gender inclusion in Vietnam. This private-public partnership is supported by the USAID, Arizona State University, eSilicaon, Pearson, Saigon High Tech Park, Amazon Web Services, John Wiley & Son, Oracle Academy, Danang MIS (Fablab Danang), Dow Chemicals, AutoDesk, Rockwell Automation, Polyco and, First Solar, Qui Long.

American University Phnom Penh offers dual degree programs with the University of Arizona and Fort Hays State University.

For information about Billion Futures click here.

Gender Equity

USAID helps provide support through loan guarantees, managed through the Development Finance Corporation, for the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series. Currently, the second bond in the series is working toward mobilizing $100 million in private sector financing for expanded economic opportunities. This activity provides women access to long-term financing raised through capital markets, thereby addressing the structural constraints that women and girls often face in many countries across the region. This year, more than 25,000 women in Indonesia and Cambodia are benefiting from increased financial inclusion.

USAID is supporting the Second ASEAN Women’s CEO Summit for Hanoi this year, which will bring together women entrepreneurs from across the region and the United States. USAID also partners with Underwriters Laboratories, a global security U.S. based firm, in recognizing achievements of female scientists through the annual US-ASEAN Science Prize for Women.

The United States has helped support the ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women for since 2014, inspiring young women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields across the region. aims to raise awareness on cutting edge advancements by women in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research addressing pressing issues in ASEAN communities. Candidates working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) fields will compete in one of two categories, mid-career scientist and senior scientist, over the next several months. The theme Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Health and Safety underpins this year’s competition, which can play an important role in delivering better and more affordable healthcare services to over 660 million ASEAN citizens.