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Asean Affairs  16 May 2011

Asean looks toward youth

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     16 May 2011

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Following the conclusion of the 18th Asean Summit in Jakarta a week ago, it’s clear that the Asean community is on schedule for the planned economic integration in 2015. The discussions to speed up economic integration and the commitment to have the Asean Open Sky policy operational in 2015 as well as revising the scorecard system for the 2015 start-up are solid moves forward.

On the political front, the status quo prevailed underlined by the in ability of Asean to take more effective action on the Thai-Cambodia border conflict.

The third pillar of Asean, the socio-cultural is undoubtedly the most difficult to achieve, given Asean’s kaleidoscope of religions, languages and cultures. The crux of socio-cultural integration will not fall on today’s generation but the generations growing up in their youthful years after 2015.

Rather than something new, Asean will be an established framework that children will be growing up in, hopefully providing them with an improved quality of life. Although national capitals will continue to be the place where policies are made that affect people’s lives , decisions will also be emanating from the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta.

For this reason, youth play an important role in Asean. It is this reason that the Asean leaders held a dialogue with youth representatives from the 10 Asean member states. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Raza said that more active young people with a sense of identity were needed to foster Asean integration.

This forum was initiated by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and Youth and Sports Ministry and the Asean Secretariat, to build a stronger architecture for the Asean community in 2015.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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