U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry engaged in a lively discussion with members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) about environmental sustainability during his visit to the Lao PDR. Seated at a restaurant overlooking the Mekong River, Secretary Kerry highlighted the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting countries in the region as they seek ways to sustainably develop the Mekong. Speaking to the youth, he emphasized that the future of Southeast Asia will be determined by youth who are committed to helping their communities thrive.
Launched in 2013, YSEALI is U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and small grant funding, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership capabilities of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and nurture an ASEAN community.
During his visit to the Lao PDR on January 24 and 25 Secretary Kerry met with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Foreign Minister/Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith to discuss the upcoming Special U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Sunnylands, California, affirm support for Laos as this year’s ASEAN Chair, and express continued U.S. interest in a close bilateral relationship. Following the official meetings, Secretary Kerry visited Pha That Luang, the national symbol of Laos, where he learned about Lao history and culture.
Lao version (PDF 150KB)