The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as a dynamic, regional organization of 600 million people across 10 member states, have since then defied all odds in establishing a diverse Southeast Asian community where people are duly bounded by mutual trust, and understanding and faithfully committed in achieving its goals and objectives since its foundation in 1967.
As ASEAN proudly gears towards its 50th anniversary in 2017, this growing cosmopolitan region has taken a big step in the full realization of one of its goals for the next generation. With the forces of globalization already taking shape in this majestic era of modern technology and cyberspace, only then can we understand the importance of integrating ourselves beyond our communities towards other communities and regions in the world. As such, it was a momentous occasion for all of us to welcome 2015 as the year of ASEAN Integration.
Truly this milestone, in the rich history of ASEAN, should be an obligation for each of us to be aware of its significance as well as its goals, benefits and impact in this rapidly, transforming region that we live in today.
As the official student organization catering to students of Asian Studies in the University of Santo Tomas, the Asian Studies Society has actively responded to the challenge of bridging the gap of knowledge of the ASEAN Integration to every student in the country and throughout the entire world. In this light, the UST Asian Studies Society has coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs in crafting next year a groundbreaking project that will promote ASEAN Integration in the University of Santo Tomas. This week-long event entitled “One With ASEAN 2017: Envisioning Development Beyond the Challenges of Integration” on January 23-28, 2017 from 8:00 am-5:00 pm at the Education Auditorium, TYK Meeting Room, TYK Multipurpose Room, TYK Parking Lot and UST Parade Grounds, is one of a kind event that will feature seminars, cultural expositions and conferences that will reveal new insights on ASEAN member countries as well as bestow a more refined understanding of ASEAN in the context of its regional integration. Questions such as how ASEAN Integration may affect college students as they graduate and enter the world of employment and professionalism will be addressed by key speakers in the said event. Students will thus be rewarded with a head start, to stretch and go beyond their capacities, as they embrace the ASEAN Integration as the future leaders and shapers of tomorrow.
One of the highlights of the said event is the Model ASEAN Meeting, an engaging and thought provoking simulation for students to feel and experience the actual workings inside a typical ASEAN meeting. With deliberative discourses on topics critical to the region which revolves around the three pillars of ASEAN: Socio-Cultural Community, Political Security Community and the Economic Community, the students will get a chance to be stakeholders by resolving urgent issues in ASEAN through their own consensus policies.
It is beyond doubt that students will not only be gifted with the practical knowledge of ASEAN and its Integration, but will also open to possible linkages amongst the different universities in the country, embassies, and other institutions for the growth of the students and the entire ASEAN Community.
In all honesty, the list of what it’s in store for us in ASEAN Integration is only getting longer by the hour.
Long Live ASEAN!