Alumni Updates

Women’s Rights Advocate Introduces President Obama at Summit of Young Southeast Asian Leaders

December 04, 2015
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Carrie, a women’s rights advocate and recent alumna of the Professional Fellows Program, was invited to introduce the US President at the YSEALI Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Nearly 500 emerging leaders in social causes, business, government, and education from 10 countries across Southeast Asia recently convened for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Summit in Malaysia to discuss regional challenges and find collaborative solutions, culminating with a visit from US President Barack Obama during his Southeast Asia tour.

Carrie, a women's rights advocate and recent alumna of the YSEALI Professional Fellows Program which brings these emerging leaders to the US for fellowships in their respective career fields was invited to introduce the US President at the Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

Carrie, who just finished her fellowship with the consulting firm Deloitte in Washington, D.C., introduced President Obama to the diverse group of young professionals from Southeast Asia at the Summit by reminding the audience of the importance of international dialogue and collaboration in the wake of several world tragedies:

"Just a few weeks since I was in Washington, D.C., I woke up to a very different world. I woke up to a world where stories of tragedy, fear, and distrust proliferate on social media and infiltrate our lives in the aftermath of Beirut and Paris

And what a different world that is from the one I was just immersed in for the past six weeks of camaraderie, of friendship, of openness, and of dialogue. And it reminds me how precious it is that we have a platform such as this to come together for our voices to be heard, for our participation and for the building of trust amongst young leaders like ourselves."

During his remarks, President Obama continued Carrie's message by reinforcing the significance of international collaboration:

"We've got to have a relationship that's from the bottom up, not just from the top down, not just among the most wealthy or powerful, but also from ordinary people who are trying to give opportunity to everybody. And so that people-to-people relationship is what's really important, and relationships between young people within the [Southeast Asian] region and within the United States is what's really important.

Connecting with each other, understanding each other can have a profound impact whether it's a student exchange program or Yuna doing a duet with Usher."

About Carrie
Carrie is the Founder and Executive Director of Daughters Of Tomorrow, a social enterprise that works to advance women's economic empowerment in Singapore and India by addressing the roots of urban poverty, female infanticide, child prostitution, human trafficking, child marriages and other social injustices through financial empowerment of mothers and families. During her fellowship, Carrie worked at Deloitte in Washington, D.C. where she learned firsthand how US public-private partnerships operate.

About the Young Southeast Asian Leaders (YSEALI) Professional Fellows Program
The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program brings emerging leaders in the fields of legislative process and governance; civic engagement; NGO management; economic empowerment and entrepreneurship; and journalism from around the world to the US for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise. The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program is funded by the US Department of State.

To learn more about the professional exchanges for Southeast Asians, visit the Professional Fellows website or read more about the work of some of our past fellows from Georgia and Armenia.