Great to see everyone! Assistant Secretary Hellen de la Vega, ASEAN Ambassadors and colleagues from ASEAN embassies, Ambassador Dan Shields, and most importantly, YSEALI leaders. It is truly an honor for me to welcome all of you to this very special celebration of two important milestones, 40th anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations and of course the 50th anniversary of ASEAN’s founding.
I want to first extend the United States’ deepest congratulations to ASEAN and its member states on the great accomplishments and advances ASEAN has made since its founding in 1967. It has been truly exciting to witness ASEAN’s growth over the years.
I’m also extremely proud of our partnership with ASEAN and what we have accomplished together. It’s a wonderful partnership and I believe the next 40 years will be even more exciting for both ASEAN and the United States.
The depth of our partnership is reflected in the 250 young leaders we have from across Southeast Asia tonight for the third annual YSEALI Summit. In my brief time as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, I have been deeply impressed by the great work of YSEALI leaders in their communities and countries. We of course face very difficult challenges, but I’m confident that these young leaders will help us deal effectively with the problems in the region and beyond.
I’m delighted that many of my colleagues from ASEAN embassies are here today. They truly are wonderful colleagues and outstanding representatives of their countries. And I know that YSEALI leaders will benefit greatly from hearing your perspective on ASEAN’s future and other important topics.
And of course, I want to thank the youth delegates for the 2017 YSEALI Summit for your dedication, commitment, energy, to build a better ASEAN and help us strengthen U.S.-ASEAN relations for the next 40 years and beyond.
And I have to say I have taken many selfies in my time in the Philippines, but the one I took with you guys this morning was the best. Right? I managed to get all 250 of you in the selfie so that’s pretty good.
Thank you all for joining us this evening and I really do hope that you will enjoy this evening, but more importantly the summit discussions throughout this week. Thank you very much.