Australia-Malaysia Institute

Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP)

2013

Twenty of the region’s brightest and most dynamic young professionals met in Kuala Lumpur for five days from Monday 3 June to Friday 7 June 2013 for the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP). Now in its third year, the purpose of the A2ELP is to nurture the next generation of leadership, expose them to high-level discussion of the regional issues of the day, and build new Australia-ASEAN networks.

The program is funded by the Australia-Malaysia Institute and enjoys the firm support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. It is co-facilitated by Asialink and St James Ethics Centre alongside the Asia-Pacific Roundtable (APR) convened annually by ISIS Malaysia.

The A2ELP group is divided into four sub-groups, each tasked with exploring a theme and presenting it back to the group. The topics under discussion at the APR stimulate ideas and the individuals, drawn from Australia and the ten nations of ASEAN, bring a range of perspectives to their discussions. As one A2ELP participants reflected, the ‘first-hand accounts of senior leaders and experts of the region were outstandingly useful and inspiring’ in thinking about their topic.

This year, the groups were asked to examine four challenging issues: The ‘ASEAN Way’: An advantage or an obstacle in a changing Asia?; Building trust in the Asia-Pacific: A cultural and political conundrum?; Navigating change through Australia-ASEAN cooperation; and Is the South China Sea dilemma a regional or global concern?

A perfect example of how this program unfolds ideas, animates discussion – resulting in critical cross-cultural understanding – and deepens our appreciation of the region, was demonstrated in the presentation of the first topic. The group set up an ‘ASEAN Restaurant’ where the ten nations had to decide on a menu. Lobbying on the sidelines were its Dialogue Partners, such as Australia, China and the United States, each pressing the ASEAN member states to include their products on the menu. Before our eyes the cultural complexities, contending interests, and intricacies of negotiation styles in such a diverse region, were exposed. So difficult was this exercise that the final menu – one that could offend no one – consisted of ‘rice and water’!

The 2013 A2ELP was a demonstration of the talented emerging leadership in the region.  It was, a participant concluded, an ‘inspiring, valuable and brilliantly run week’.

2012

The AMI funded the 2nd A2ELP in Kuala Lumpur from 28 – 31 May 2012 in conjunction with ISIS Malaysia's 26th Asia-Pacific Roundtable. Twenty five emerging young leaders from Australia, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam took part in the five day leadership program. 

The participants came from a range of backgrounds including government, think-tanks, NGOs, politics and business to develop their capacity as regional leaders and discuss topical international and regional issues. Meet the 2011 A2ELP participants and 2012 A2ELP participants and see what some of them think.

We would like to extend our thanks to ISIS Malaysia, St James Ethics Centre and Asialink for organising this event, as well as the Australia-Thailand Institute (ATI) and the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) for their funding and support.

The A2ELP is conducted under 'Chatham House Rules' and uses the Asia Pacific Roundtable as a reference point for discussions and group presentations.

This year four mentors from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia who participated in the 2011 A2ELP were invited to be team leaders and give presentations on themes covering: Conflict Management and Resolution in Asia: The role of civil society; Managing illicit transnational migration in Asia; Regional security order ASEAN-Australia perspectives and Middle powers and regional governance:  A case study from Asia. 

A highlight of the program continues to be the 'A2ELP Breakfast with the Elders'. 'Elders' invited to participate in the breakfast session over the two days of the APR have included:

The program provides A2ELP participants with the opportunity to build extensive professional networks in South East Asia and engage with regional leaderson emerging challenges. 

See what some of the 2012 A2ELP participants say about the program

"The Asia Pacific Roundtable helped me understand political-security issues better and has given me new found appreciation for its relation to my work. The discussions at A2ELP challenged my way of thinking and has inspired me to think 'outside the box'"

"Fantastic program! Exhausting but worth it. I learnt a lot, met amazing people with deep knowledge and insight of the region, gained an appreciation for a number of things, got the opportunity to interact with change-makers and real players (which is awesome) and am now part of a network that will forever be of use and relevance. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this"

"This is the most interesting workshop I've taken part in. Thank you very much. Excellent in both content (knowledge) and methodology"

"It was a wonderful program and allowed me to connect with talented people from around the region and discuss issues facing all our countries. Thank you for the opportunity"

2011 ASEAN-Australia Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP)

The AMI funded the A2ELP in Kuala Lumpur from 29 May to 2 June, specifically timed to coincide with ISIS Malaysia's Asia-Pacific Roundtable. Tweny-one young leaders from Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam took part in the five day leadership program.

The participants came from a range of backgrounds including government, media and academia developing their capacity as regional leaders and discussing topical international and regional issues.

We would like to extend our thanks to ISIS Malaysia, St James Ethics Centre and Asialink for organising this inaugural event, as well as the Australia-Thailand Institute (ATI) and the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) for their funding and support.

The A2ELP presented and invaluable networking opportunity for participants and an A2ELP facebook page has been created as a result.

This program was a key activity under the AMI's New Generation Leaders and Professionals Program (Goal 1) and also a collaborative project between DFAT's three South-East Asian institutes.

Group photo of participants at the ASEAN-Australia Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP)

Group photo of participants at the ASEAN-Australia Emerging Leaders Program (A2ELP), May- June 2012 (Photo courtesy of St James Ethics Centre)