June 29, 2021

Reps. Castro and Tenney Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative

WASHINGTON — Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22), introduced the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Act (YSEALI), H.R. 4213, to promote people-to-people exchanges between the United States and Southeast Asia and establish the existing YSEALI program into law. This legislation will be added as an amendment to the EAGLE Act during the HFAC markup on Wednesday. 

“The 10 nations of ASEAN are home to about one in ten of the world’s population, and two-thirds of Southeast Asia’s citizens are under 35-years-old. Young leaders in Southeast Asia will help determine not only the future of these growing economies and emerging democracies, but also the trajectory of the 21st Century,” said Congressman Castro. “That’s why deepening U.S. engagement through the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative is so important, and this legislation will establish this program into law — demonstrating America’s commitment to the next generation of Southeast Asian leaders.”

“The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative is an important program focused on engaging and training young leaders who will play a critical role in shaping the future of Southeast Asia,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “This bill will strengthen our nation’s engagement in Southeast Asia, foster deeper ties with emerging leaders in the region, and underscore the importance of America’s democratic values and a rules-based order. I’m honored to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Castro.”

“YSEALI is one of the United States’ best initiatives in Southeast Asia, creating a sense of shared identity and common cause between the next generation of leaders in ASEAN countries,” said Ambassador Nina Hachigian, former United States Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “Through this U.S. diplomatic program, these inspiring young leaders are meeting each other, building bridges with the American people and learning how to make the world a better place.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.