ASEAN convenes symposium to discuss efforts to foster ASEAN Identity

Experts, policymakers and practitioners gathered today for the Symposium on ASEAN Identity and Strengthening ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ROK) Cooperation: Now and Beyond at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In his opening address, Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi posed a pertinent question “What makes you proud to be an ASEAN citizen?” which set the tone for the event. Meanwhile, in his welcome remarks, Ambassador of ROK to ASEAN Kwon Hee-seog said that “ASEAN’s diversity should be embraced and nourished as one of its unique characteristics.”

The symposium comprised two panel sessions themed “Amplifying ASEAN Awareness and Developing ASEAN Identity 55 Years On” and “Strengthening ASEAN Identity Through Cooperation”. It discussed the role of ASEAN identity in building the ASEAN Community and explored potential areas of cooperation and the lessons that can be learned from ROK especially with its successful Hallyu culture to better solidify a stronger sense of belonging in the region.

Experts including Prof. Dewi Fortuna Anwar of the National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia, Mr. Siyonn Sophearith of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, Dr. Hoo Chiew Ping of the Universiti Kebangsaan of Malaysia, Dr. Melba Padilla Maggay of the Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture of the Philippines, Mr. Shawn Ho of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore, Prof. Doobo Shim of Sungshin Women’s University and Prof. Lee Gyu Tag of George Mason University of ROK joined the event.

During the breakout sessions, participants shared their views on ways to amplify ASEAN awareness and to foster ASEAN Identity The participants recognised that schools and media play significant roles in telling the ASEAN history and achievements. “The reason why ASEAN was founded needs to be retold so people could understand why ASEAN is important” stated Prof. Anwar.

In closing the symposium, Deputy-Secretary General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Ekkaphab Phanthavong encouraged the participants to act as ASEAN’s intermediary and continue to champion the awareness of ASEAN among friends and family members.