The US Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, H. E. Craig Allen yesterday met with some 40 alumni members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) at a special get-together held at the Radisson Hotel.
The event aimed to share and discuss topics of interest to youth and promote cultural exchange, environmental awareness, education and career development as well as leadership and entrepreneurship.
The ambassador in his speech said, “Since its launch about two years ago, President Obama’s YSEALI has been a great success. It is succeeding in its goal of helping to empower young people in Southeast Asia by imparting skills and providing resources and network needed to turn their ideas into actions.”
“Today, the YSEALI network has nearly 35,000 young people including many Bruneians. It is very encouraging to see that a YSEALI alumni network in Brunei is growing with more than 200 members to date,” he added.
During the event, three YSEALI alumni members shared their experience and project ideas with the group. Mohamad Khalid bin Mohamad Khairullah from Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) is a participant in an academic fellowship programme in the US.
He also got a rare chance to meet President Obama. Lina Salwana binti Hussin from the Ministry of Education(MoE) has attended a women’s leadership workshop in Jakarta and Amal Kasibah binti Bahari has participated in various YSEALI workshops.
“The workshop was an eye opener for me. I heard about the many challenges that women are currently facing in other countries during the workshop. Men and women should be treated equally and they should complement each other,” Lina Sal-Wana said.
The YSEALI initiative is US President Barack Obama’s signature programme to strengthen leadership development and networking in Asean.
The YSEALI Community consists of bright young leaders aged between 18-35 years from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.