The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to educate and provide skills training to the people of Southeast Asia. YSEALI is open to young people from all Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and Timor-Leste. There are more than 5,000 alumni of YSEALI programs, and nearly 150,000 young people belong to the YSEALI Network.
The YSEALI program, along with other U.S.-sponsored people-to-people initiatives, showcases the U.S government’s commitment to strengthening the ties among the combined one billion people of the United States and Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs, YSEALI also seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and foster a community of leaders who work across borders to solve shared challenges.
- YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV): The U.S. Department of State is working with Congress to provide $5 million for the new YSEALI Academy at FUV in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The YSEALI Academy at FUV plans to offer executive-level capacity-building seminars for entry- to mid-level professionals ages 25-40 from across Southeast Asia around the themes of technology and innovation, public policy, and entrepreneurship.
- Academic Fellows Program: Participants ages 18-25 travel to the United States for a five-week fellowship held on the campus of a U.S. college or university. More than 1,200 young people have taken part in the fellowship, which includes an on-campus academic residency, leadership development, interaction with American peers, and community service activities.
- Professional Fellows Program: Participants ages 25-35 spend five weeks in the United States in individually-tailored work placements with non-profit organizations, government agencies, or private sector offices across the country. American hosts also travel to Southeast Asia on reciprocal exchanges. There have been more than 1,200 participants in this fellowship.
- Regional Workshops and Summit: Young leaders develop practical skills and collaborate on cross-border projects in human capital development-focused regional workshops held across Southeast Asia. Since 2014, alumni gather at the annual YSEALI Summit to strengthen their networks and to discuss solutions to shared regional challenges. The YSEALI Summit takes place in the ASEAN chair country for that year. More than 3,000 young leaders have participated in the regional workshops and summits.
- Seeds for the Future: The U.S. government has provided more than $1.7 million in small grant funding to support young Southeast Asian leaders’ innovative ideas for civic engagement, economic development, education, and sustainable development.