On 6 March 2019, Mae Fah Luang University and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN jointly held a special lecture on “CPR and Its Linkage to ASEAN” at M-square Building, Mae Fah Luang University.
This year, 2019, Thailand has an important role as the Chair of ASEAN under the theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.” Moreover, it marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN. The purpose of this lecture was to raise awareness of the mission of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and Thailand as the ASEAN Chairman and to strengthen ASEAN’s various partnerships for creating sustainability for ASEAN in all dimensions.
The special lecture was given by distinguished keynote speakers which included the Permanent Representative of Indonesia to ASEAN, H.E. Mr. Ade Padmo Sarwono; the Permanent Representative of Lao PDR to ASEAN, H.E. Mr. Ekkaphab Phanthavong; the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to ASEAN, H.E. Mr. Min Lwin; the Permanent Representative of Philippines to ASEAN, H.E. Ms. Elizabeth P. Buensuceso; and the Permanent Representative of Thailand to ASEAN, H.E. Ms. Phasporn Sangasubana.
In this session, the speakers highlighted ASEAN’s principles, mechanism, transformation, the role of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, and the role of Thailand as the ASEAN Chairman in advancing sustainability in three pillars covering political security, economy, and socio-cultural community. For the political security pillar, Thailand has put priority in reinforcing cybersecurity, combating transnational crime, enhancing maritime cooperation and increasing the role of the ASEAN Center of Military Medicine in Thailand which focuses on disaster management especially on the military side.
Moreover, the uniqueness of ASEAN is unity in diversity. Although, ASEAN is a region of diversity and differences, all member states are united and equal based on the fundamental principles of non-interference, equality, and consensus. The member states merge their national interests into regional interests and arrive at a conclusion in order to move ASEAN toward sustainable growth in the entire region.
By focusing on narrowing gap among ASEAN states and promoting collaboration with its dialogue partners, ASEAN has initiated and developed important cooperation mechanisms such as ASEAN+3 and the formation of forums such as the East Asia Summit (EAS). These mechanisms provide a platform for all the great powers to meet and resolve outstanding issues together. Meanwhile, the strong foundation of peace and cooperation has paved the way for ASEAN to be one of the most successful regional organizations in the world.
Additionally, ASEAN not only wants to maintain its prosperous, inclusive and peaceful community, but also wishes to extend peace, prosperity and cooperation to a wider region especially the Indo-Pacific.
The president of Mae Fah Luang University, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vanchai Sirichana stated at the opening ceremony that as a university located at the crossroad of the Greater Mekong Subregion and at the heart of ASEAN, MFU has set the priority to provide appropriate educational services in order to connect people, build partnerships, and to ultimately create sustainable development.
For twenty years, the university has welcomed students from every ASEAN country to study and learn to live together. Moreover, MFU has always encouraged the realisation of a common ASEAN citizenship among graduates. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vanchai added that he strongly believed that ASEAN is an effective mechanism for the region to continue its partnership for a sustainable future.
Altogether, this special event was an excellent platform for helping people in all generations, especially young people to understand and appreciate the importance of Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship, the roles of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN as well as both the external and internal challenges facing ASEAN. The stronger understanding and awareness about ASEAN Community helps encourage the people of ASEAN to take collective action in promoting regional peace, people-centricity and shared prosperity without leaving anyone behind.