Manila Hosts 2017 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Summit

Ambassador Sung Kim welcomes participants to the YSEALI Summit.

Five-day summit brings together 250 emerging leaders representing all 10 ASEAN member states to advance leadership skills and collaborate on regional challenges.

Manila, October 19, 2017 — Two-hundred and fifty emerging leaders between the ages of 18-35 representing all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states have come together in Manila for five days of advanced leadership training, collaboration, and networking at the 2017 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Summit.

The YSEALI Summit, held from October 17 to 21, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and organized by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and Cultural Vistas.

The third annual YSEALI Summit will equip these rising leaders with training and mentorship to address the complex and dynamic political, social, economic, and environmental issues facing ASEAN.  In this 40th anniversary year of U.S.-ASEAN partnership, the Summit delegates will also focus on strengthening U.S.-ASEAN relations in the next 40 years.

The Summit will accomplish these goals through a combination of hands-on activities, lectures, and simulations focused on advanced leadership skills such as systems thinking; communications and negotiations; 21st century collaboration; and approaches to meaningful dialogue.

The program includes a reception celebrating both ASEAN’s 50th anniversary and the 40th year of U.S. -ASEAN partnership.  Representatives from the embassies of ASEAN member nations to the Philippines will join U.S. government representatives and the YSEALI Summit delegates to mark these historic anniversaries.

In preparation for the Summit, the 250 young leaders completed five weeks of online learning activities.  While in Manila, they will collaborate in multi-national teams to design service projects for implementation in an ASEAN-wide campaign of youth-led community service initiatives, YSEALI YOUnified, in December 2017.

For the last 40 years, the United States has partnered with ASEAN and its member states on economic engagement, security, rule of law, sustainable development, human rights, and people-to-people programming.

According to the ASEAN Secretariat, 65 percent of the population in the region is under the age of 35.  These 400 million youth will define the Asia Pacific region for decades to come; their participation in solving global challenges is critical to the development and prosperity of the region.

Recognizing this fact, the U.S. government launched YSEALI in 2013 to strengthen partnerships with emerging leaders in Southeast Asia; to expand their skills as effective civic, economic and non-governmental leaders in the region; and to nurture an ASEAN community of leaders who work together to solve common issues.

Since that time, the YSEALI network has grown to more than 111,000 members, including almost 19,000 in the Philippines.

This year’s YSEALI Summit marks the third such gathering of YSEALI alumni. Previous summits were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Nov. 19-23, 2015) and Luang Prabang, Laos (Sept. 6-9, 2016).

Learn more about the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Summit at and follow summit updates in real time at #YSEALISummit.