Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI)

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is a program by the U.S. Department of State to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia.  It is open to citizens from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam aged 18-35 years old and wanting to make a difference in their communities, countries, and the region.

Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community.

YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: education, civic engagement, environment and natural resources management, and entrepreneurship and economic development.

The programs offered under YSEALI are:

  1. YSEALI Professional Fellowships: Offer month-long mentorship and shadowing programs at businesses, NGOs, and government offices in the United States.
  2. YSEALI Academic Fellowships: Provide intensive study of leadership and regional issues at American campuses.
  3. YSEALI Generation Regional Workshops: Deliver hands-on training for ASEAN youth, giving them the tools necessary to actively lead their communities while connecting them to each other and the United States.
  4. YSEALI Seeds for the Future: Offers seed money for young leaders to implement their innovative ideas for regional challenges.
  5. Social Media Engagement: Youth express their ideas and connect with the United States and each other through YSEALI’s social media properties. Twitter chats, YouTube videos, Facebook posts, email, online quizzes, and a website provide a variety of opportunities for conversation, learning, and networking.

As of May 2023, there are over 2,000 registered YSEALI online members and 274 YSEALI alumni in Brunei. Many alumni of YSEALI programs have gone on to lead or participate in civil society organizations and activities.  For example, YSEALI alumni and local YSEALI members ran youth-led workshops — Young Project Managers (YouPM), Young Media Advocates (YouMA), Youth-led NGO Management (YOUNM) — to train youth on project/NGO management. Another initiative, Youth Against Slavery (YASBrunei), is the result of YSEALI members networking with other regional counterparts attending a regional YSEALI workshop.  YASBrunei is the country’s first-ever civil society organization focused on combatting Trafficking in Persons.

For more info on YSEALI, please go to

For more information about YSEALI opportunities, Brunei citizens can email .