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ASEAN Commemorative Forum: Reviewing Past Successes, Looking to the Future

ASEAN AT 50: Where We Are And Where Do We Go From Here?

 

The year 2017 sees the Association of Southeast Asian Nations celebrate its 50th anniversary. And there is indeed much to celebrate. But just as importantly, the 50th anniversary is also a moment to think about the future of the region and what lies ahead.


At the start of 2016, the 10 economies of ASEAN were collectively the seventh largest economy in the world. By the start of 2017, that rank had improvedto sixth, and by 2020 it will be fifth.


ASEAN deserves to be proud of its achievements. Another area that ASEAN should be proud of is in the Political-Security Community (APSC), which promotes nuclear non-proliferation, human rights and defence dialogues. There is also no question that ASEAN’s ten member states now have to decide if the creation of a strong political and security community remains their long-term strategic ambition. For if that is not the case, then external powers – likely China – will increasingly play a stronger hand in the region’s future.


But, as impressive as this is, ASEAN could and should be moving forward much more quickly. With a population of more than 600 million and a nominal GDP of US$2.31 trillion, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), made up of Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, is fast becoming a major economic force in Asia and a driver of global growth.


As the economies of neighbouring China and India decelerate, and as the U.S. shifts its focus to the East, the region is increasingly becoming a destination for investment. In support, the ASEAN Economic Community has a goal of integrating the regional economies to make the countries more competitive with the rest of the world. Today, as growth opportunities are counterbalanced by a variety of political and economic risks, what does this group of 10 disparate countries have to offer?


As ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary, the world stands on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous vehicles, ubiquitous mobile internet, and accelerating progress in genetics, materials science, and ultra-cheap automation.


If ASEAN is to prosper for another 50 years, it must tackle difficult questions about how to navigate the accelerating pace of technological change and digital disruption. On the one hand, the Fourth Industrial Revolution could bring huge benefit to the region, driving financial inclusion, access to affordable healthcare, new forms of education, and the creation of new companies and service sector jobs.


The next half a century will also see the region’s biggest challenge is to move forward to meet the expectations of a whole new generation. The younger generation of ASEAN aspires to a better life, an ever-higher standard of living, they are generally better educated, more technological-savvy and they believe in the benefits of ASEAN membership. Hence, we must strive to ensure ASEAN can become a catalyst for inclusive growth, better jobs, better education opportunities and investment in infrastructure that will result in ever-higher standard of living for this generation. Herein lies the challenge to meet the trust and expectations in the next 50 years.


This High-Level Commemorative Conference on the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN with the theme, “ASEAN at 50: Where We Are and Where Do We Go from Here?” is timely and apt. This conference will discuss various aspects of what we believe are the challenges and opportunities to strengthening ASEAN and achieving further cohesiveness and regional integration for the next 50 years and what ASEAN should focus on to bring relevancy to its next generation of leaders. It will bring together Government, Business and Civil Society to commemorate the 50 years of ASEAN as well as bringing together young leaders and university students to discuss how ASEAN consciousness can be further strengthened over the next 50 years.


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Event Location
  • PAUM Club House Jalan Susur Damansar 59100 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia


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Cheque should be crossed and made payable to Asian Strategy & Leadership Incorporated Sdn. Bhd.
Contact Person

Ms Edora Rhazali
Mr Mohd. Radhi
Ms Nurul Rashidah Rashid

Tel: +603-20935393
Fax: +603-20933078
Email: aslimarketing@asli.com.my