Remarks by Ambassador Blake at the @America International Youth Day Event (08/14/15)

Selamat siang and good afternoon.  On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, welcome to @america.

A special welcome to our distinguished guests today:
Mr Esa Sukmawijaya, from the Ministry of Youth and Sports
Mr. Douglas Broderick, UN Resident Coordinator
Mr. Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Representative

International Youth Day is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize the importance of the role of young people in building our societies.  So I want to warmly welcome all the young people here today.

You are Indonesia’s future.  You have much to look forward to and you can play an important role.  In fact that is the focus of our discussion today:   civic engagement.

What better way to celebrate this day than to talk about ways young people can participate in public life and politics, and how you can be empowered to contribute to society and its development?

As two strong multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracies, the U.S. and Indonesia share so many values.  But one of the most important is that our democracies and our market economies give our young people the opportunity to dream big, do great things and make a difference in your communities and your country.

But is our duty to give people the tools they need to make that difference.

That’s why we invest in the power of education; in the power of cultural exchanges; and the power of communication.

And that’s why President Obama launched two years ago the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative or YSEALI.  He wanted to help empower young people in this important region for the United States, by giving them more of the skills and resources and networks they need to turn their ideas into action.

In partnership with the United States, YSEALI participants are tackling what they and you have identified as their generation’s greatest challenges in the ASEAN region and today we are going to address one of the challenges; civic engagement.

YSEALI provides young leaders with various opportunities to develop their leadership skills — through regional workshops, small grants competitions, exchange programs, and in-country activities.  We want you to be a part of YSEALI in Indonesia!

Signing up is easy, just go to the YSEALI website and enter your name, date of birth and email. In fact, staff will be available after this event, with i-pads to help you sign up!

Today, we celebrate all of you, your energy for seeking out new possibilities and we encourage you to continue your participation in civic engagement.

It is our hope that all participants walk away from today’s event with new ideas, new tools and new networks and new enthusiasm that you each can make a difference by contributing your ideas to tackling the toughest challenges of today.

As Prepared.