The U.S. State Department’s flagship youth programme in ASEAN and Timor Leste, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) had recently unveiled a new hashtag to reiterate its commitment to the region.

YSEALI was initiated in 2013 as the U.S.’s signature programme to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through sponsored fellowship programmes to the U.S. and regional workshops, YSEALI develops the leadership capabilities of youth in the region and nurtures an ASEAN community.

Source: YSEALI/Twitter

In a series of tweets, the US State Department articulated what the #BillionFutures hashtag actually means for the youths in the region.

Source: YSEALI/Twitter

The number 1 billion represents the population of the United States (328 million) and ASEAN Member States (648 million), which is about 976 million. Hmm, ok, close enough 🙂

Source: YSEALI/Twitter
Source: YSEALI/Twitter

YSEALI’s programmes generally centred around the themes of civic engagement, sustainable development, education and economic growth. Billion Futures built on those themes and introduces the health aspect (very relevant in a post-COVID world) as well as an emphasis on empowering women and girls.

Would the introduction of Billion Futures mean additional engagement platforms between US and ASEAN? We certainly hope so!

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