Today, Asia is booming and dynamic in both economics and politics. Rapid growth in East Asia has positioned Asia as a future centre for the global economy. For ASEAN, a community is promised to bring the 10 member states closer together. This is a marked change from a decade ago, in 1997, when a crisis spread through much of Asia. Now in 2007, Asia seems again on track for growth, to emerge as an equal to North America and Europe. Yet while optimism has returned, much has changed, and still more may need to change.
To be held for the first time, the ASEAN and Asia Forum 07 will draw on the views and perspectives of policy makers and experts to look ten years back and ten years forward. Held after the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore, the Forum will share key insights and critical analyses with business leaders, academics, and young professionals about the landscape and horizon that set the context for businesses and lives in the region. The Forum is co-initiated by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) and includes partners such as Stanford University, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the University of Cambodia, the Hanns Seidel Foundation (Germany), and the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.
The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) in collaboration with Stanford University, the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the University of Cambodia, the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (Germany), held the first-ever ASEAN and Asia Forum 07 (AAF07) on Friday, 30th November 2007 at the Pan Pacific Singapore.
The Forum included a panel discussion with Mr Ong Keng Yong, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman of SIIA at 0900hrs and a dialogue with Dr Surin Pitsuwan, the incoming ASEAN Secretary-General at 1400hrs.
Panel Discussion 1: From Crisis to Community and Beyond
His Excellency Mr Ong Keng Yong, the ASEAN Secretary General shared his perspectives on the recently concluded Summit, its findings, the ratification of the ASEAN Charter and reviewed ASEAN’s performance in the decade after the 1997 financial crisis and its outlook for the future, particularly the creation of the economic ‘community’, slated to take place in 2015.
Panel Discussion 2: New and Emerging Issues
Participants included His Excellency (HE) Dr Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Cambodia and High Level Task Force Representative, and President of the University of Cambodia; Dr Rizal Sukma Deputy Executive Director, Centre for Strategic and International Studies of Jakarta, Indonesia and Mr Kavi Chongkittavorn, Assistant Group Editor of the Nation Media Group, Thailand. The panel discussed the strategies that have been adopted to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and address the challenges of energy security. In addition, it considered the recent political upheaval in Myanmar, the strident calls for democratic reform and more significantly, if the remit of the human rights body – a provision made for in the ASEAN Charter - should extend beyond a consultative role, enabling it to impose penalties for human rights violations or non-compliance.
Panel Discussions 3A and 3B
Panel participants include: Prof Dr Djisman S. Simandjuntak, Executive Director of the Prasetiya Mulya Graduate School of Management in Jakarta, Indonesiaand HE Ambassador Tommy Nguyen Trung Thanh, VietnamAmbassador to Singapore. The panels focused on the regional economies of Indonesiaand Vietnamand discuss the economic performance of these countries in the context of ASEAN, their progress thus far and the outlook for 2008.
Panel Discussion 4
The panel addressed the nexus between security, democracy, and regionalism in East Asia. Panellists include Mr Daisuke Hiratsuka the Director-General of the Development Studies Centre of the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organisation; Professor T J Pempel, Professor and Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies of Political Science, The Charles and Louise Travers, Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley and Dr Brent Layton the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.
Incoming Secretary General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, gave a moving and inspiring speech at the following session highlighting his dreams and aspirations for ASEAN and also called for economic integration and a concerted effort to invest in ASEAN’s people so that the poor will not be left behind.
The Forum ended with Associate Professor Simon Tay, Dr Kao Khim Hourn and Professor Donald Emmerson providing closing reflections on the Forum and ASEAN with interventions from Associate Professor Mely Caballero-Anthony, Coordinator, Non-Traditional Security Programme (NTS), Secretary-General, Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia(NTS-Asia) and Dr Termsak Charlempalanupap, Special Assistant to the ASEAN Secretary-General.
The Singapore Institute of International Affairs would like to thank all our sponsors, partners, speakers, guests, participants and all who have helped one way all another for making the first ever ASEAN & Asia Forum a resounding success.
30 November 2007
938 LIVE’s Geraldine Soh’s interview with Mr Ong Keng Yong, ASEAN Secretary-General entitled ‘ASEAN Summit outcome good: ASEAN Sec-Gen’.
30 November 2007
Channelnews Asia’s Hasnita Majid’s interview with Dr Surin Pitsuwan. Entitled ‘ASEAN needs to invest in its people: incoming chief’
30 November 2007
Radio Singapore International English Service’s Mubin Sa’adat’s interview with Mr Ong Keng Yong, entitled ‘The challenges facing ASEAN’
1-2 December 2007
TODAY’s Nazry Bahrawi: ‘For ASEAN, failed coup a reminder’
1 December 2007
ASEAN’s next aim: A savvy middle class?
1 December 2007
Secretary-General Surin: Charter may cause ASEAN to lose its charm
Lianhe Zaobao, By Yew Lun Tian