Vietnamese students of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Washington DC (VNA) – The US Department of State and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) have recently held a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of US-ASEAN relations and the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

The event saw the attendance of Walter Douglas, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Alyson Grunder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Addressing the ceremony, both Douglas and Grunder held that since its foundation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has developed continuously and played a central role in the region, thus helping maintain peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region.

The US will continue supporting and assisting ASEAN, and intensifying its strategic partnership with the bloc in numerous aspects, they affirmed.

While hailing the important role of YSEALI in promoting socio-cultural exchanges, the officials believed that the programme’s members would contribute to fostering US-ASEAN relations.

Pham Hung Tam, Minister Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in the US, met Vietnamese students of YSEALI, affirming that the embassy is willing to assist them if necessary.

Founded in 2013, YSEALI is a youth exchange programme between the US Department of State and ASEAN member states.

It includes all ASEAN member countries (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and is open to young people aged between 18-35.-VNA