On January 13, 2023, YSEALI Academy Public Policy Seminar on Southeast Asia’s Economic Integration amid Global Turbulence officially concluded with the memorable Closing Ceremony and Gala Dinner at La Vela Hotel (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).
The YSEALI Academy was delighted to welcome Consul General Susan M. Burns of the Consulate General of the United States, Consul General Wong Chia Chiann of the Consulate-General of Malaysia, Consul Wirattinee Vatanyootaweewat and Consul Tharanut Koonyotying of Consulate General of the Kingdom of Thailand, Consul Kith Sothearith of Consulate General of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Mr. Mai Anh Thai, Director of Foreign Affairs and Languages Training, Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Relations to join the event and celebrate the success of the Seminar, as well as the new strong friendships of fellows.
Representing the US Department of State, the main supporter and sponsor of YSEALI Academy, U.S. Consul General Susan Burns stated, “Ten years ago, the U.S. government launched YSEALI to help empower young people like you, to provide more skills, resources, and networks to turn ideas into action. Since then, we’ve offered workshops, online networking, exchanges, professional development, hands-on training, and seminars. Today, the YSEALI network includes nearly 150,000 young people like you. America’s relationship with the region remains strong, thanks to this program”.
Summarizing the one-week-long event, Dr. Huynh Trung Dung, YSEALI Academy Lead Faculty for Public Policy, gave the audience an in-depth picture of the current state of Southeast Asia’s economic integration in the sense of global turbulence, and the role of youth in empowering our region. Over the past couple of years, Southeast Asia has been facing global and regional challenges from the growing tension between great powers, COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain disruption, rising inflation and energy cost, and environmental threats. Nevertheless, there are opportunities for Southeast Asian economies to prosper by leveraging their geopolitical position, internal economic linkages, young population, and digital transformation. In doing so, young people play crucial roles in setting strategic priorities and thus shaping the economic future of Southeast Asia – and “that is why the YSEALI Academy wants to make that happen by connecting people, creating remarkable synergy and building long-lasting institutions,” Dr. Dung emphasized.
The celebration night was flavored with music performances and fun games hosted by our very own fellows, who are not only intellectually top-notch but also the most fun and energetic young people. In the farewell remarks to his beloved friends and the YSEALI Academy Team, Sompong Southapanya (Lao Fellow, IOM Officer) recalled, “Friends from ASEAN nations are very supportive. We discussed after each section to share our perspectives and what we learned. Moreover, I’m very impressed by our team building activity “The Amazing Race”, in which we did interesting things like dancing along the river”.
On behalf of the YSEALI Academy Team, Dr. Hoang Ha Thi sent a heartfelt message to the Public Policy Fellows: “While this is the end of our seminar, for most of you this is just the beginning of your relationship with the YSEALI program and the YSEALI academy. You all have a bright future ahead and we feel privileged to act as facilitators of this bright future”.
Sending off fellows to their respective countries, YSEALI Academy Team believes that with the novel knowledge and network established during the seminar, our fellows, or now our alumni, will continue doing their great work and creating more impacts in the region.