KUALA LUMPUR: The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) will continue to empower youth in Malaysia and Southeast Asia through more youth diplomacy engagement.
US Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D McFeeters said as the YSEALI programmes had recorded success stories of its alumni and marked many positive impacts across the region, the platform would leverage the existing network to better connect the youth.
"Over the past nine years, YSEALI has been a powerful platform that has demonstrated the power of youth exchanges to foster positive change around the world.
"We are immensely proud of our YSEALI Malaysian alumni who are fulfilling the promise of the programme to cultivate the next generation of leaders focused on their communities and their country.
"This (today's summit) is the chance for the YSEALI alumni to work together and how they can follow-up with each other on ongoing issues which includes mental health, climate crisis and all issues faced by both countries (Malaysia and the United States), as well as Asean."
McFeeters told reporters this after the launching of YSEALI Malaysia Summit themed "The Rise of Youth Power in Malaysia and Southeast Asia" here on Saturday (Aug 13).
Organised by the YSEALI Council of Malaysia (YCOM), the one-day summit is supported by the US embassy in Malaysia and the US Department of State's Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah was also present at the event, which gathered more than 100 young leaders, including prominent alumni.
When replying to a question on how the YSEALI programme model can best empower more youth engagement among the regional bloc member states, McFeeters said the United States welcomed any efforts and collaborations in fostering youth diplomacy.
"There are many more things that the Malaysian government could decide to do (to empower youth) or together with Asean countries, and we welcome that.
"The more the better," he said noting there are currently 10,000 YSEALI members here in Malaysia.
The YSEALI community consists of young leaders aged from 18 to 35 from Southeast Asian countries who are making a difference in their communities, countries and the region.
The set of programmes under the umbrella of YSEALI are, namely YSEALI Academic Fellows, YSEALI Professional Fellows, YSEALI Regional Workshops and YSEALI Seeds For the Future. – Bernama