Youth Dialogue


The Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue is a 100% youth-run initiative supported by a small grant from the United States Department of State.

The idea sprung in Tokyo, Japan in December 2019 at the ALLI (Advancing Long-term Leadership Initiative) Indo-Pacifric Summit. Toward the end of the ALLI Summit, we were split into multi-country teams, and given time to come up with our own initiative to advance the Indo-Pacific identity among young leaders. Our team presented our proposal for an Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue, and we were fortunate to be selected for funding.

The Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue is solutions-oriented and held in conjunction with the twice-yearly ASEAN Summit. In 2020, Vietnam is the ASEAN Chair. Originally, the inaugural Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue was scheduled to take place directly before the 36th ASEAN Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam in April 2020. However, COVID-19 has forced us to go virtual, and instead will be in advance of the 37th ASEAN Summit and 15th East Asia Summit in Q4 2020.

The delegates to IPYD will engage around six policy focuses:
1. Climate change and natural disaster risk management
2. Digital society and the Internet
3. Entrepreneurship and jobs for youth
4. Public health preparedness
5. Religious tolerance, countering violent extremism, and peacebuilding
6. Security and transnational crime

After hearing from experts on these topics and engaging in leadership development workshops, the delegates will work together to author a Youth Policy Communique, released the week of the 37th ASEAN Summit in November 2020.

The delegates to IPYD will engage around six policy focuses:

Climate change and natural disaster risk management

Digital society and the Internet

Entrepreneurship and jobs for youth

Public health preparedness

Religious tolerance, countering violent extremism, and peacebuilding

Security and transnational crime

Our team

Jarret Fisher, United States of America

Jarret (she, her, hers) is from the United States. She participated in the US Congress-Republic of Korea National Assembly Exchange Program during the summer of 2018. Jarret earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. She is proud to have written all of the content for the Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue website.

Yan Qi Chiang, Singapore

Yan Qi (she, her, hers) has an active interest in technology, sustainability, and international development. Yan Qi is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Loi Nguyen, Vietnam

Loi (he, him, his) earned his Bachelor’s of Engineering in Rural Development. Currently, he is a researcher at the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute, hosted at Can Tho University. Lois has participated in several YSEALI programs, and gained a Certificate in Natural Resource Management in 2019 during his internship at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

Nicholas Eng, Singapore (Mentor)

Nicholas (he, him, his) runs a corporate finance consultancy and a trading company. He is deeply interested in encouraging cross-border collaboration among youth, particularly in business, technology, social, and environmental endeavors. Nicholas contributes his efforts to many such projects around the globe.

Intro to the Indo-Pacific

“Indo-Pacific” is still a relatively newly coined geopolitical region. Most countries recognize the term “Indo-Pacific” was first uttered by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe way back in 2007, though the concept of an Indo-Pacific region has gained most of its traction in the past five years. Prime Minister Abe introduced the concept during his address to India’s Parliament, in a speech titled, “Confluence of the Two Seas.”

Let’s think about the name. In moving away from Asia Pacific toward Indo-Pacific, we believe this has two primary implications. First, the name recognizes the rise of India on the global stage, whose population and economy has grown tremendously over the past 5-10 years. Second, the name literally welcomes countries in the Indian Ocean, not only the Pacific Ocean. There is no strict definition of what countries are included in the Indo-Pacific, there is no Indo-Pacific intergovernmental organization.

What we can look to in making the term “Indo-Pacific” officially recognized by governments is May 30, 2018. This is the day the US Department of Defense re-named the US Pacific Command (USPACOM) to the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). Then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stated the name change was “in recognition of the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific oceans.” From an American perspective, there are two key documents that speak to the US vision and commitment to the Indo-Pacific as a priority theater. They most recently were released in 2019, by the Department of Defense and Department of States. The first was released on June 1, 2019 and is called the “Department Of Defense Indo-Pacific Strategy Report: Preparedness, Partnerships, And Promoting A Networked Region.” The second was released by the State Department on November 4, 2019 and is called “A Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Advancing a Shared Vision.”

The shift in terminology from Asia Pacific to Indo-Pacific will be one of the main focuses for our delegates. There is no doubt the shift highlights India’s rise on the world stage, and adds not only India, but other countries that have a “border” with the Indian Ocean, such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Unequivocally, we recognize the centrality of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region. ASEAN is a unifying force between all of the large and middle powers that consider themselves part of the Indo-Pacific. This is why we purposely chose for our Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue to take place in tandem with the ASEAN Summit.

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Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue 2020 is supported by