Grow Together in ASEAN: Wedu partners with the U.S. Mission to ASEAN to organize the U.S. – ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy for Young Southeast Asian Leaders (YSEALI) in Jakarta

October 26, 2016

In partnership with the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, Wedu organized the U.S. – ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy for Young Southeast Asian Leaders (YSEALI) in Jakarta last week from October 17th to 21st, 2016 with support from partners AirAsia, GE, IBM, and Visa. The Academy brought together 39 young women from the 10 ASEAN countries to discuss regional challenges, engage in cross-cultural exchange, and enhance their leadership development to increase female leadership in the region.

The official theme of the Academy was “Grow Together in ASEAN”, which was integrated throughout in a series of sessions addressing regional challenges and key gender issues facing ASEAN combined with practical leadership training and opportunities to network. The week-long Academy kicked off with a focus on setting individuals’ intentions and goals, rethinking personal branding, and practicing elevator pitches to prepare the participants for the opportunities offered in the second half of the week.


On Wednesday, Ambassador Hachigian, the US Ambassador to ASEAN, moderated a Women Who Lead panel discussion made up of four women leaders from various sectors at the @America studio in Jakarta. Panelists offered professional and personal wisdom and advice about becoming and being a female leader in ASEAN. Afterwards, participants were given the opportunity to network with the panelists as well as other leaders from the region and the United States who also attended the networking session.


d2-123Another highlight of the Academy was Mentor Day, in which 10 mentors, from all different backgrounds, spent the entire day with the participants providing mentorship insights and advice in a short panel discussion, working through exercises and role-plays with the participants to understand their leadership strengths and weaknesses, and offering one-on-one mentoring “office hours” in the evening to offer practical advice and support.


The week culminated in a series of design-thinking sessions on the final day to refocus the participants on the key regional issues identified to begin creating teams and drafting plans for implementing innovative solutions in their communities utilizing all the newly-equipped tools and learnings from the week. The final sessions helped facilitate cross-cultural teamwork among the participants and foster a sense of continued engagement and commitment to creating positive social change in their respective communities.

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Although the in-person portion of the Academy has concluded, we look forward to engaging the participants in the next 6 months to keep them active in the YSEALI and Wedu networks by offering mentorship opportunities, online workshops and webinars, and support organizing in-country meet ups. Additionally, we are looking forward to the 2016 cohort helping to design components of the 2017 Academy.

Upon the closing dinner for the week, Ambassador Hachigian summarized the sentiment of the Academy well when she offered participants the closing advice,”Look out for your sisters, amplify their ideas, encourage your female colleagues to trust in themselves. ASEAN will be stronger if we all reach our full potential.” We would like to thank the US Mission to ASEAN and YSEALI as our collaborating partners and send a warm thank you to the participants of the Academy, we look forward to seeing you each grow together in ASEAN.

To learn more about Wedu, please click here.

To learn more about YSEALI, please click here.


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