Jakarta, 9 September 2023 – In the dynamic landscape of ASEAN, it’s time for the young generation to step into the spotlight and play pivotal roles in shaping the region’s future. From ensuring job opportunities to actively participating in sustainability efforts, the youth of ASEAN are poised to drive transformative change.

Entrepreneurship is set to become the lifeblood of the region, evolving into an integral part of ASEAN’s cultural fabric. Governments across ASEAN nations are rallying behind the idea of nurturing a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit among their youth.

Expectations are high for ASEAN’s young generation, known for their positive energy, creative ideas, and innovative approaches. Their role in empowering micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and championing women’s empowerment is particularly significant.

This youthful enthusiasm and commitment were on full display at the ASEAN+ Youth Summit 2023, themed “ASEAN Youth Strength: Collaboration in Diversity,” held from 6 to 8 September 2023 at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC).

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy (Menparekraf) Sandiaga Uno, while serving as one of the panelists at the ASEAN+ Youth Summit 2023 event “ASEAN Youth Strength: Collaboration in Diversity,” on Thursday (7/9/2023) at the Jakarta Concert Hall. (photo: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy).

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, who actively participated in the discussions, was impressed by the passion and dedication of the young participants in fostering a sense of ASEAN citizenship. “It’s about culture and the sense of belonging as ASEAN nations,” Menparekraf Sandiaga affirmed.

Sandiaga highlighted the pivotal role played by MSMEs in supporting the economy. These enterprises are responsible for ninety percent of jobs in ASEAN, with nearly 60 percent located in creative economy sectors such as culinary, fashion, handicrafts, digital economy, music, film, and animation. Remarkably, a substantial portion of these ventures are driven by women entrepreneurs.

The Minister also shared Indonesia’s post-COVID-19 success story in rejuvenating its tourism and creative economy. Despite initial doubts regarding the feasibility of promoting tourism during a pandemic, Indonesia’s innovative approach focused on personalized, customized, and localized experiences. The nation embraced ecotourism, emphasizing the significance of tourism villages within the broader tourism landscape.

Sandiaga attributed some of the sector’s recovery to international events hosted by Indonesia, such as the G20 Summit and the 43rd ASEAN Summit. These gatherings provided a platform for showcasing Indonesia’s resilience and attractiveness as a destination.

The ASEAN+ Youth Summit event was held on September 6-8, 2023, at the Jakarta Concert Hall in Jakarta. (Photo: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy).

The ASEAN+ Youth Summit 2023 is organized by ASEAN Youth Agenda Indonesia 2023, a youth forum within the ASEAN Chairmanship. The initiative is backed by the non-political youth organization Indonesian Youth Diplomacy (IYD), youth from ASEAN member countries, and ASEAN+ partners.

The event featured prominent figures, including Climate Change Strategy Advisor of the World Economic Forum, Nathan Cooper, Chief Commercial Officer (COO) of Sarisuki Philippines, Bam Meija, and Indonesian artist and philanthropist, Raline Shah. Their presence underscores the significance of collaboration, innovation, and youth engagement in shaping ASEAN’s future.

As the young generation takes center stage, ASEAN is poised to harness its collective creativity, energy, and dedication to build a brighter and more prosperous future for all. The torch is passed, and the ASEAN youth are ready to lead the way.