August 13, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs, YB Dato’ Sri Saifuddin bin Abdullah, and the United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Brian D. McFeeters, underscored the importance of youth diplomacy at a summit in Kuala Lumpur. The youth summit brought together the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) alumni community for a day of panel discussions and networking on the theme “The Rise of Youth Power in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.”
The minister said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs encourages youth participation in foreign policy and international affairs issues through initiatives like the Youth Task Force on International Affairs and Diplomacy.
Dato’ Sri Saifuddin reiterated that “Youth diplomacy can promote dialogue and collaboration between Malaysia and the rest of the world in various areas from entrepreneurship to climate change. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is committed to fostering youth diplomacy including with YSEALI leaders.”
Ambassador McFeeters shared success stories of YSEALI alumni and remarked on the positive impact the initiative has had on participants from Malaysia. YSEALI has empowered over 500 young Malaysian leaders through U.S. exchange programs and regional workshops.
“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,” noted Ambassador McFeeters. “We are immensely proud of our YSEALI Malaysian alumni who are fulfilling the promise of the program to cultivate the next generation of leaders focused on their communities and their country.”
In a special address, IDEAS Malaysia president Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz called on youth to be innovative and proactive in strengthening democracy through civic engagement.
The YSEALI Malaysia Summit was organised by the YSEALI Council of Malaysia (YCOM), supported by the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and the U.S. Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. More than 100 young leaders, including prominent alumni such as YB Dr. Afif Bahardin (ADUN Seberang Jaya, Penang), YB Lim Yi Wei (ADUN Kampung Tunku, Selangor), and social entrepreneur Mr. Kuhan Pathy, participated in the Summit.