On Monday, January 9, the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam kicked off the year 2023 with a cozy Opening Ceremony for the 2023’s Public Policy Seminar. The Academy welcomed 33 young and ambitious fellows from all 11 ASEAN countries, bringing their diverse forte to the Seminar on “Southeast Asia’s economic integration amid global turbulence.”
“2023 is a special year as it marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiatives,” H.E. Mr. Yohannes Abraham, United States Ambassador to ASEAN, remarked at the plenary session. After a decade, YSEALI has become a vital catalyzer promoting cultural exchange for Southeast Asian emerging leaders, building the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthening ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurturing an ASEAN community.
Launched in 2020, the YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam has successfully offered six seminars focusing on three main pillars addressing various challenges facing the region: Public Policy, Technology & Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. And this is the second in-person seminar the Academy has ever hosted, gathering fellows and lecturers from all across the globe to participate in an intensive week, packed with activities.
Along with an impressive list of leading experts that have flown to HCMC, Vietnam to join the seminar, Prof. David Dapice, Economist of the Vietnam Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School, has shared a few insights from his years of extensive work with the region. He said: “Most countries think mainly from a national perspective, and that is inevitable. But some problems require a larger perspective.” Prof. Dapice urged the fellows to form contacts and create networks as that would allow all of us, regardless of our nationalities and backgrounds, to communicate, educate, and help negotiate within and among countries.
Echoing that message, Dr. Hoang Ha Thi, Director of YSEALI Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam, also expressed the Academy’s focus on creating a tight-knitted network that is enabling and empowering young leaders in ASEAN. “Apart from providing training and building professional abilities, we also see ourselves as community builders. There’s certain kind of impacts that you cannot measure in numbers — that is the friendships and community, companionships,” Dr. Thi expounded. “And with that, we are glad to welcome the newest members to our YSEALI family!” – the warm welcome resonated with not only the fellows but also the Academy’s friends at Fulbright and at the US Department of State.
Awaiting the fellows is a week full of learning and asking tough questions, spanning from discussions within the classroom to field trips exploring the world surrounding their community. “[There are incredible challenges facing the region and the world]. The truth is most people are aware of these issues. What makes you special is that you want to do something about them. Your future is our future, and thanks to you it will be a bright one.” – Ambassador Abraham concluded his welcoming remarks.