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150 ASEAN youth at 2022 Leadership Initiative summit

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

Event: 2022 YSEALI Summit on Economic Empowerment (Cambodia)

Period: December 5-9, 2022

Language: English

Host: YSEALI , US Embassy, The Asia Foundation

Area: Economic Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, Start-Up, Innovation, Sustainability, Gender Equality

Nikki Phinypapincha, Founder of TransTalents Consulting Group, was selected among 1 of the 150 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) alumni to join the 2022 YSEALI summit in Cambodia during December 5-9, 2022 to discuss on the economic empowerment in ASEAN following COVID-19.

“It was a life-changing experience platform. Before joining YSEALI, I had a purpose on how to help empower the LGBTQ+ business community,” Nikki said. “In the US, I learn how the LGBTQ business ecosystem is run. It’s very progressive and inspiring for me to make Thailand a better place for LGBTQ+ inclusive economy"

The initiative, known as YSEALI, was established in 2013 by the US government to enhance leadership development and networking.

The three full days of hands-on activities offered the inspiring dialogues and workshops with peers and top experts around the topics i.e. leadership skill-building, entrepreneurship, sustainable development, inclusive business, future skills, digitalization. In addition, we also had a chance to visit local businesses and initiatives around Phnom Penh and learn new cultural activities as well as networking. 150 participants including experts and mentors dove deep into topics of economic empowerment – the foundation for prosperous, sustainable, connected communities and regions.

The summit was also officially kicked off with inspirational remarks from Deputy Assistant Secretary Dawson, U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Yohannes Abraham, and also U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken! 😮✨

since 2015, the YSEALI network had grown from under 35,000 to 160,000 members. The US and Southeast Asian nations had a shared commitment to strengthening people-to-people connections through programs that engage ASEAN and US citizens, especially youth.

Nikki believes that all 150 young leaders across ASEAN nations joined for the same purpose - leading the change and make a better impact - that corresponds to the YSEALI motto "it's never too young to lead!

“I’m living proof that LGBTQ+ can do and be more,” Nikki said. “We can do beyond what society has stereotyped us to do. We can be a leader of our own life. We can be a leader of different sectors. That’s how I shape myself to be a professional leader.”

Nikki wishes that next time she will not be the only one transwoman in the summit.

We need more diverse leaders.

Learn more at


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