The Southeast Asian Young Leaders' Programme

About the Southeast Asian Young Leaders’ Programme

The Southeast Asian Young Leaders' Programme (SEAYLP) brings younger thinkers into the mainstream of the regional strategic debate by inviting them to be delegates at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue. The aim of the programme is to engage young people from business, government, law, journalism and academic backgrounds in a high-level debate on the complex and rapidly-evolving strategic challenges faced by Southeast Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region. The young delegates play a full part in the Dialogue’s plenary and special sessions, and join dinners and other social events which provide important opportunities for informal exchanges with global decision makers. The programme is intended to enable a younger generation of Southeast Asian strategists to contribute to the formulation of effective security policy in their countries and the Asia-Pacific region.

Inaugurated in 2016, the programme will continue at the 16th IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2017 with a fresh cohort of young leaders. 

'I believe that, over time, SEAYLP delegates will help to promote the construction of a new security community starting within Southeast Asia. The Asia-Pacific region has been experiencing several security challenges, mostly dominated by competition between great powers, but the SEAYLP is a step towards keeping Southeast Asia in the driver's seat, steering regional security architecture towards peace and prosperity.'

Paul Pongphisoot, Lecturer at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

SEAYLP at SLD 2016

Launch of the Southeast Asian Young Leaders' Programme

The 15th anniversary of the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue, in 2016, witnessed the launch of this groundbreaking new IISS initiative. With the generous support of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US Embassy and British High Commission in Singapore, the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta and OUE Limited, 43 young leaders from ten Southeast Asian countries were invited to the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2016. Highlights of the programme's launch included a SEAYLP lunch attended by distinguished speakers including Singapore's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and Commander of US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris, as well as introductions to US Secretary of Defense Dr Ashton Carter and British defence secretary Michael Fallon.

Dr Ashton Carter and the Young Leaders

Photo by Leonid Iaitskyi

IISS Shangri-La Dialogue 2017

The 16th Asia Security Summit will take place in Singapore from 2–4 June 2017.






Reflections on the 2016 Shangri-La Dialogue

Kelvin Wong reflects on the insights provided by senior executives of major international defence companies speaking at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue.