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Dream meeting with Obama for 100 young Southeast Asian leaders

The Star/ANN | Christine Cheah | Sunday, Apr 20, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR - Fancy a meeting with President Barack Obama? A distant dream it will not be for 100 South-East Asian young and aspiring leaders.

The group, which will include 20 Malaysians, will come face-to-face with the President of the United States in an interactive session here next Sunday.

Obama is scheduled to launch the Young South-East Asian Leaders Initiative - an effort to build relationships across South-East Asia through the engagement of young people - at Universiti Malaya.

The initiative features a three-day workshop attended by US Government-funded alumni from the 10 ASEAN countries in which participants as young as 18 will be trained in building their community leadership skills.

The initiative is close to Obama's heart, with the president having said that Asia Pacific's rich culture and incredible dynamism had helped shape the person he is.

Obama arrives here on Saturday on a historic trip, the first by a sitting US president in 48 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson came way back in 1966.

The president is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday.

After their meeting, the two leaders will head to the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre which supports companies involved in creative multimedia, research and development, outsourcing and data management.

The centre was born out of the Obama-mooted Global Entrepre-neurship Summit held in Malaysia last year.

The president will also visit Masjid Negara and meet Malaysian civil society leaders before leaving for the Philippines on Monday.

First Lady Michelle will not be accompanying Obama, who was initially scheduled to visit Malaysia last October. The trip was postponed due to the budget standoff in Washington.

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