03 December 2015

Sunway University Hosts 77 Young Students at Inaugural ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting

“Money may be able to buy a lot of things, but it should never, ever be able to buy another human being”, said Dr Elizabeth Lee quoting United States Secretary of State, John Kerry on the issue of human trafficking. In her welcome remarks to 77 young ASEAN student delegates of the First ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting hosted by Sunway University, Dr Lee said that Sunway is proud to be associated with the event that promotes unity and forges tolerance among youths within and beyond ASEAN. She took time to remind the student delegates that they are the future, highlighting the importance that they prepare themselves to transform and tackle current issues and change the system for the benefit of future generations to come.

The Meeting focusing on the timely issue of “Trafficking in Persons”, held from 18 to 22 November 2015 was organised to coincide with the 27th ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Kuala Lumpur. The inaugural meeting provided delegates the opportunity to role play as ASEAN officials.

Student delegation heads and guests at the opening plenary
Optional: (front row starting from 2nd from left) Shahril Azuar Jimin, Elaine Tan, His Excellency Dr AKP. Mochtan, Dr Elizabeth Lee and Maura Barry

The university delegates from all the ten countries of ASEAN were competitively selected for the Meeting where through role playing senior officials, ministers and leaders of ASEAN, it hoped they gain insight into ASEAN as an inter-governmental system and understand the process on how regional agreements and cooperation are negotiated. Delegates were assigned to different countries, allowing them opportunity to gain a different perspective about other ASEAN member states other than their own. The assignment was to enable delegates to better understand decisions their national governments make and also help them better understand the affect the decisions have on policies at the national and regional levels.

Elaine Tan, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, says, “This activity will raise ASEAN awareness among the young people, providing them an avenue for personal enrichment, as well as a better understanding of the benefits of ASEAN, the regional integration process, and their potential to contribute to the ASEAN Community.” She reminded the student delegates that they are the pioneers of the ASEAN body and to always feel, think and be ASEAN.

Keynote speaker His Excellency Dr AKP. Mochtan, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs, informed the student delegates that for now at the Meeting they are just role playing but in the future, they may be the ones representing their country. His main point for all was the learning of the ASEAN way which he stated is the strength and key success factor that brought ASEAN from its humble beginnings to today. He detailed the ASEAN way into three elements; collective strength, synergy through diversity and the ASEAN centrality, stressing that all should champion the spirit of togetherness.

Notable guests at the event included His Excellency Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee bin Md Abdullah, Representative of Malaysia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights; Maura Barry, Director of the General Development Office of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Asia, US-ASEAN/USAID and Shahril Azuar Jimin, Chief Executive Officer of the Maybank Foundation.

The event organised in partnership with Sunway University, was supported by the ASEAN – U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development and Security (ASEAN – U. S. PROGRESS) facility based in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Government of the Philippines, and the Maybank Foundation in Malaysia. The ASEAN – U.S. PROGRESS is a joint project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. State Department, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

American Degree Transfer Program’s (ADTP) student Kuan Hui Xin from Sunway University’s Centre for American Education said, “I am extremely grateful to be invited by a dedicated lecturer of mine, Ms. Jaime Yap, to observe the opening plenary, panel section and a few of the sectoral body meetings. It was an eye opening experience as the issues discussed were serious matters that affects many around me, such as human trafficking and lack of education. During the panel session and a Q&A session, Ms. Jaime took on the role as a moderator. Hands down, she did a brilliant job. I deeply admire the way she connected with the audience. From what I had observed, it was not an easy task as there were 10 different nations speaking with different accents and about different issues.”

Besides Kuan, other ADTP students invited by Jaime to attend and observe the session included Sean Goh, Lee Ting and Darryl Foong. Sean added, “It was an amazing experience for me to be sitting with representatives from many different countries and being part of the discussion made me feel like I was on the same level as the other participants were as they were the crème of the crop of their respective countries. My opinion of the whole meeting was that it was conducted in a very orderly manner, everything was well organised.”

No comments:

Post a Comment