ASEAN youngsters discuss regional economic development issues

Tuesday, 2017-08-01 10:36:15
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US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius (C) with students at the YSEALI event which opens in Hanoi on August 1.
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NDO – Eighty students and young professionals from the ten ASEAN countries gathered at a four day workshop which opened in Hanoi on August 1 to discuss the most pressing issues facing economic growth in Southeast Asia.

The “Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation: E-Community!” workshop, hosted by the US Mission in Vietnam in collaboration with Kenan Foundation Asia and the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS), aims to give participants core knowledge about the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and its impact on trade and development, as well as enhancing the leadership and soft skills of youth to give them the necessary skills to make a greater impact in their communities.

Over 2,200 applications were submitted throughout the region. The participating youth were selected out of the numerous applications for the prestigious workshop based on their outstanding track record and interest in economic engagement at the community, national, and regional levels.

Over the next four days, the event will feature expert panel discussions, case study challenges, and several relevant site visits, targeting to inspire and support the youth’s ability to contribute to sustainable economic growth in their communities and in the region.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, stressed the important role of youth relating to regional development, saying that there are nearly 410 million people under 35 in the ASEAN region and they are going to shape policy in their own countries and in the surrounding region in the times to come in order to drive the economy and promote positive change for a more prosperous and inclusive society.

The diplomat stated that the US is concerned about the ASEAN’s success and is the No. 1 investor in most countries in the region. The YSEALI is expected to make breakthroughs for ASEAN to take sustainable economic steps. The US is actively involved in ASEAN activities and is committed to create the best condition, especially as it relates to young people in the region, he added.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia stated that the event offers an opportunity to hone skills for young leaders to contribute to the development of the ASEAN community, saying that youngsters will be the nucleus that contributes to promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the ASEAN region.

Phan Kieu Anh, Country Programme Manager of Kenan in Vietnam, said that the YSEALI event would help young participants to define how they can engage with government, business leaders, and community organisations to contribute to economic and social development at the community, national, and ASEAN levels.

At the event, participants have the chance to visit companies and organisations, such as DesignBold, Centre for Social Initiative Promotion, Baker McKenzie Oriberry, to learn about business opportunities during the age of international integration.

They will also experience Vietnamese culture and traditions and discover ways to promote economic growth through tourism by visiting Dao Thuc village which is located in the outskirts of Hanoi, and is famous for its 300-year-old art of water puppetry.

During the workshop, youth will participate in role-playing activities in which they will be challenged to view ASEAN economic questions from the perspective of diverse stakeholders, thus helping them experience the multiple viewpoints that go into the ASEAN policy development.

The highlight of the YSEALI Generation event will be the ASEAN Summit simulation, in which participants will take a role as the Minister of their home country to jointly develop Statements on sustainable development and other joint regional policies.

Launched in 2013, the YSEALI is a US-supported programme to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programmes and engagements, including educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges and seed funding.

The 110,000-member YSEALI seeks to build leadership capabilities for youth aged 18-35 in the region with special attention to critical topics identified by youth in the region, including civic engagement, education, environment protection and economic development.