To commemorate Earth Day, 72 youth leaders hailing from the countries of ASEAN will gather today in Siem Reap to promote environmental advocacy and cultural exchange as part of US President Barack Obama’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).
The workshop, funded by a grant through the United States Embassy in Phnom Penh and managed by the nonprofit organisation Cultural Vistas and Pannasastra University’s Siem Reap campus, is aimed at supporting international cooperation and education about environmental issues facing the region today.
“The program is about cultural exchanges, networking and bringing the youth leaders of the 10 nations of ASEAN together,” said US Embassy spokesperson Jay Raman. “The young people here are motivated to tackle challenges both locally and regionally.”
Over four days, the youths, aged 18 to 25, will engage in a series of lectures, seminars and field trips around Siem Reap in order to better understand the effects of climate change and sustainability. The goal is for these young leaders to apply the lessons learned in Cambodia to their home countries, and help spread messages of environmental awareness.
“Environmental issues affect us all. They know no borders,” said Cultural Vistas vice president Dan Ewert in a statement. “This week will bring young Southeast Asians and Americans together to address truly global problems, and Earth Day is the perfect time to begin this work.”