YSEALI Empowering Southeast Asian Educators, a 'Hangout' Place for Young Educators

Hi learners! Do you want to meet new friends from various countries and discuss interesting topics that you are interested in? Then, you must participate in various international activities, like the YSEALI program.

In this article, I will share stories about the YSEALI program that I participated in, where I met other participants from various countries in Southeast Asia. If you want to read this article in Bahasa Indonesia, check the following link.


YSEALI (Youth Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative) is a United States government program for developing youth leadership competencies in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, the Philippines and Timor-Leste.

There are various programs held by YSEALI: YSEALI Academic Fellowship, YSEALI Professional Fellow, YSEALI Seeds for the Future Grants, and YSEALI Regional Workshops.

YSEALI focuses on four big themes: Civic Engagement, Sustainable Development, Education, and Economic Growth. The target age for the YSEALI program is 18-35 years. However, now YSEALI has a program for ages over 36 years called YSEALI PLUS.

Complete information about YSEALI can be accessed via https://id.usembassy.gov/education-culture/yseali/.


In August 2019, I had the opportunity to participate in a YSEALI program, namely the YSEALI Regional Workshop, with the theme "Empowering Southeast Asian Educators." Want to know more about the program? Continue reading the article, ok?

About The Program

The YSEALI Regional Workshop with the theme "Empowering Southeast Asian Educators" is a program involving 100 participants aged 18-35 years from 11 countries in Southeast Asia. These participants include teachers, lecturers, students, representatives of NGOs and educational foundations, educational volunteers, and other educational experts.

The activity aims to increase the knowledge and skills of educators in Southeast Asia. Apart from that, this program also discusses educational issues experienced by Southeast Asian countries and tries to jointly design projects that can be used to deal with these issues.

The Location

The activities are carried out hybridly, specifically for workshops held onsite in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All participants, mentors, committee and presenters stayed at the Pullman Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Most events are held in hotel meeting rooms. Apart from that, there were also visits to several locations in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, online implementation is carried out with discussions through a Learning Management System (LMS), as well as Facebook and WhatsApp Groups. This was done before and after the workshop in Malaysia.

The Cost

You may think that the costs required to participate in this activity are expensive, for example, food, lodging, transportation and other costs that we need while in Malaysia. Moreover, the activity lasted for five days.

However, this activity is fully funded, meaning that participants do not need to pay for plane tickets, hotels, food allowance and transportation during the activity. Exciting, right? The participants were even given food while on the plane and pocket money during site visit activities.

Transportation to and from the airport while in Malaysia is also provided by the organizer. However, transportation while in the country of origin is the responsibility of each participant. For example, the costs I need to get from home to the nearest airport are not funded by YSEALI, as with the costs of making or extending a passport.

The Activities

Activities were carried out for five days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What did you do during those five days? Activities include a welcoming dinner, three days of workshops, and closed with a farewell party.

The welcome dinner was held on the first night the participants arrived in Kuala Lumpur. This activity allows participants, mentors and committee members to get to know each other in person.

On the second day, participants participated in various activities, including explanations from keynote speakers, discussions in large groups, specialization classes based on our interests, and a fee schedule where we could discuss with team members to complete a project or just hang out around.

On the third day, a site visit was carried out. We visited Me.reka, which is a learning space in Kuala Lumpur. We were invited to take a walk to see every innovation room there and try to use the various technologies available, such as 3D pens and printers.

After leaving Me.reka, we were invited to visit Petrosains, located in the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). There, we saw various exhibitions, games, and other activities related to STEM. Petrosains is an educational site for children and adults.

Was the site visit complete? Nope, we also had the surprise of visiting the Petronas Twin Towers up to the top floor. Free! There, we took photos and looked at various dioramas and infographics, as well as enjoying the view of Kuala Lumpur from above.

Next, on the fourth day, a pitch competition was held. Each group representative was allowed to present their project for five minutes. The winners of the competition receive funding for project development and implementation. On the same day, we also held a farewell party in the evening.

The next day, we were taken to the airport and returned to our respective countries. However, the program still needs to be finished. We still had to complete the post-workshop via the LMS. This was done to monitor the progress of each group's project and participant feedback after attending the YSEALI Regional Workshop with the theme "Empowering Southeast Asian Educators."

This series of activities not only provides training for young educators to improve their competence as educators. However, it provides the opportunity to build social networks with other educators on an international scale so that it becomes an educational 'hangout' vehicle for young educators.

My Team’s Project

My team consists of four people who all come from different countries, namely Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam. We got an extraordinary mentor who came from Thailand. It is an extraordinary experience that is impossible to forget. Our group raised the theme "Diversity and Inclusion in Education."


Overall, the YSEALI Regional Workshop with the theme "Empowering Southeast Asian Educators" was an unforgettable experience for me. This program provided extraordinary experience, increasing my competence as an educator, as well as the opportunity to expand networking with fellow educators and other education observers.

The program I participated in had an educational theme. However, YSEALI does not only have programs with this theme. There are also other themes, such as technology, environment and government. So, for those of you who are interested in studying with friends from various countries throughout Southeast Asia, immediately visit the YSEALI website and check the available opportunity!

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