Women Leaders Unite ASEAN

Jakarta, Indonesia – September 29, 2017 – The U.S. Mission to ASEAN, along with implementing partner Wedu, united  37 women leaders from all ten ASEAN countries for the third installment of the Women’s Leadership Academy for Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). The participants are handpicked by U.S. Embassies in their respective countries and represent a range of expertise from nonprofit leaders to teachers to entrepreneurs. The U.S. ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy for YSEALI is grateful for support by partners AirAsia, GE, Visa, Coca Cola, Citibank, and Credit Suisse.

The weeklong Academy facilitated participants in identifying their personal strengths, setting professional goals, improving proficiencies in public speaking, and increasing networking opportunities. The program also focuses on the challenges faced throughout ASEAN while fostering cross-cultural collaboration.

“In a time where the global average participation for women in parliament sits at about 22%, the ASEAN region is notably slower in its development at an average of 18%,” notes Sita Sumrit, Assistant Director and Head of the Poverty Eradication and Gender Division at the ASEAN Secretariat. Ms. Sumrit, also one of the participants from the 2016 USASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy for YSEALI cohort, shared insightful knowledge about key gender issues in ASEAN to the participants.

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 is helping ASEAN create ASEAN identity from the ground up. You young people are the future of ASEAN, which is why cultivating young leaders is one of our priorities at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN,” said Chargé d’Affairs Daniel Shields, U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Chargé d’Affairs Shields moderated a panel discussion called Women Who Lead with three women leaders from the private sector to share their experiences and best practices for these aspiring young leaders.

The U.S. Mission to ASEAN recognizes that collaboration and leadership development are two critical components that will help realize this future. Wedu was the implementing partner for the second year in a row, providing framework and programmatic expertise related to leadership development.

“We believe mentorship, collaboration and leadership training are critical elements in achieving a future where women share the leadership platform equally with men,” said Mario Ferro, Wedu’s CEO and co-founder. “The U.S. Mission passionately shares Wedu’s vision for the future and trusts in our expertise. Through our collaboration we saw inspiring women connect, grow, and take one step further in their leadership journeys.”

To date, the Academy has more than 100 alumni. This network is stronger as they grow, and the alumni continue to share space and dialogue among themselves and beyond to create solutions to overcome their region’s greatest challenges.

For photo and video highlights from the Women’s Leadership Academy, please visit:

US Mission to ASEAN


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