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Reflections on the YSEALI Malaysia Summit

Opening session at the YSEALI Malaysia Summit.

The YSEALI Malaysia Summit brought together 500 young leaders from the ten ASEAN countries. The goal of the Summit was to connect young leaders with the tools, resources, mentorship and peer networks that they need to build their capacity to create innovative solutions to real-challenges in ASEAN countries.

From the perspective of a speaker and mentor, the Summit was a very valuable teaching experience about the ASEAN region and what professional participants found compelling when visiting host cities in the United States. As community leaders, ICMA members have a vested interest in fostering the development of the next generation of leaders no matter where that generation lives.  Given the global economy that we live in now, each one of us needs to be invested in supporting young leaders to grow and develop as professionals.

Foreign policy isn’t something that most local government managers consider to be a part of their portfolios. And yet over the recent holidays, a YSEALI Malaysia Summit participant from Malaysia contacted me about being accepted for a fellowship this coming March (2016).  He had some questions about our winter weather here in New England and what he should bring. I took the opportunity to put him in touch with two ICMA members who lived near where he’ll be completing his fellowship.  They are making arrangements to take him lunch and have advised him further on clothes to bring.  I have no doubt that this young man will learn much about the U.S. culture and be given an opportunity to make new friends while he’s here on his fellowship.  It’s diplomacy on a personal level, and it makes a difference in these times.

ICMA members have much to share with the next generation. I hope that more of our members will support YSEALI fellows during their stays in the U.S., and share lessons learned from their vast experiences. To learn more about ICMA’s involvement in the YSEALI Professional Fellow Program and how your organization could host a fellow, click here.

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