Three YSEALI participants share experiences

National 2 minutes, 13 seconds


THREE local participants of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) programme yesterday shared the vast knowledge and experience gained throughout their stay in the US.

YSEALI is President Obama’s signature programme launched in 2013 to strengthen leadership development and networking in ASEAN.

The programme focused on critical topics identified by the youth in the region, such as environment and natural resource management, civic engagement, entrepreneurship and economic development.

The programme also connects youths with established leaders from the US and South East Asia.

Speaking with The Brunei Times yesterday, Genevieve Yee, the first Bruneian to be part of the YSEALI Professional Fellows Programme said that the programme was more of cultural work exchange.

Paired with an Indonesian participant, Genevieve spent five weeks in Iowa City to do a work attachment with the City Government.

“It was a very diverse circle as my fellow Indonesian participant is a business consultant whereas I have a background in human resource,” she added.

Genevieve shared that during the five-week programme, she shadowed the City Manager and attended school board meetings, international meetings, rotary clubs during which she talked about Brunei and the programme, among others.

Genevieve said that she chose to be in the programme due to her strong passion for raising mental health awareness issues.

“The idea is to bring like minded people together and create a bigger impact. That’s the biggest takeaway for me,” she added.

Mohd Khalid Mohd Khairullah from Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) said that the programme gave him the opportunity to express his ideas.

“Back in school I wasn’t given the opportunity to express my ideas so through this programme I was able to share with my fellow participants some ideas,” said Mohd Khalid.

“We learned about American history and culture and learned about the differences with our culture. We need their opinions on our country on what we can improve especially since the US is very developed,” he added.

Mohd Khalid said that Brunei has a lot of potential in diversifying its economy from oil and gas which could be done through focusing on sustainable development. “There should also be awareness (on this) especially considering today’s world problems.”

Meanwhile, YSEALI Academic Fellow participant Dk Nur Syazwina Pg Hj Yasmin said she joined the programme for personal development.

“Participating in the different programmes has definitely made me more confident and outspoken. There were a lot of workshops and presentations we had to do so that has helped us develop our skills and at the same time had to generate a lot of ideas on the spot,” said the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) undergraduate.

The Brunei Times