Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future Grant Competition Awards Ceremony, Jakarta

Selamat malam. Welcome to @america!

I am so pleased to have the opportunity to congratulate these outstanding grant recipients and to speak to what we hope will be future grant winners in the audience.

The Seeds for the Future grant competition is part of the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) that President Obama launched by in 2013.

As you’ve just heard, YSEALI supports the innovative ideas of young leaders age 18-35 to solve some of the toughest problems facing your generation.

It is a program that demonstrates how important young people are to the future of Southeast Asia.

About 65% of the population of this region is in your age range.  So your solutions and ideas matter!  That’s why we are proud to support this initiative to help the brightest young leaders among you to work together to help shape your future.

It’s important to note that of the 17 winning proposals in the Seeds for the Future competition, 6 were from teams with leaders from Indonesia.

Indonesia, as the largest country in ASEAN and a country with a vibrant civil society, has a real opportunity to show leadership in the region and YSEALI is a great venue in which to do that.

Through YSEALI, partnerships are developing between young community leaders and social entrepreneurs among all the ASEAN countries.  We want to build on these partnerships and create more.

So we encourage those of you who are not members to join.  You can thereby be eligible to participate in future grant competitions as well as workshops and events around the region and in the U.S.

As you can see from these tremendous projects we have just heard about, teams of people with good ideas and a little bit of support can actually tackle big problems and make a difference.

The issues addressed by these projects are not small – environment problems, issues related to the empowerment of women, and of economic opportunity.

As these winners put this grant money to use, real people will experience the benefits of their efforts in communities across ASEAN.

The grantees will also be the beneficiaries as they are able to compare their experiences in the different countries and become even more effective social entrepreneurs in their area of interest.

That multiplier effect is what innovative young leaders can achieve when they work together.  We believe in youth and the potential for YSEALI to make a difference in ASEAN.

I am excited about what these teams are going to accomplish.  And I’m honored to have this chance to award the certificates to the winners.