Youth Role In the Future of ASEAN And Korea Cooperation

“Youth role in the future of ASEAN and Korea cooperation”

by Nuanpan Thamanovanish

The 19th Century was recognized as the European Century and the 20th Century was the American Century. The term “Asian Century” has been emerged in this 21th Century where Europe and America are now in decline due to Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and American sub-prime problem. However, the coming of Asian Century might not mean that Asia is the main actor, but the main “geographical location” in which great powers like the United States and European countries face off, and in which the next stage of global governance and future cooperation take shape in this globalization era instead. It is therefore undeniable that most ASEAN countries are nowadays confronted by the question of how they respond to globalization in this 21th Century.Globalization implies participation in world trade as well as active global competition which underlines great challenges to ASEAN region. Since its inception, ASEAN encompasses ten countries in Southeast Asia and started reaching to cooperate with East Asian countries namely China, Japan and Korea under the name ASEAN+3, which has been playing a very significant embodiment of the “new regionalism” in the Asia-Pacific in order to  accordingly cope with the tide of these challenges. Moreover, Korea as one of the rising countries in East Asia along with its key position in the Asia-Pacific region, its contribution to human resource as well as technology and media development, and its awareness of a significant exchange of information and cultural exchanges, all of these brought ASEAN and Korea into area priorities cooperation identified at the 4th Informal Summit held in 2000 especially in the field of “Multimedia” on which Korea has an advanced development and also a great influence.

Korea’s global expansion through the use of multimedia has been mirrored by its cultural “Korean Wave” which has an effect on ASEAN countries and their citizens from migration to industrial sectors to marriages and the curricula of academic institutions. In addition, under the support by ASEAN-ROK Special Cooperation Fund (SCF) and Future Oriented Cooperation Project Fund (FOCP), the survey of “Knowing where Korean Stands in Future Cooperation with ASEAN” was conducted. It is thus time for us to also know where ASEAN stands in Future Cooperation with Korea as well. In the light of the 22th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations in this 2011, further cooperation and collaboration in terms of Multimedia must be deepened. The questions to be next answered are what should future cooperation be? through which mechanism should be used? and how to deepen ASEAN-ROK cooperation in the future?

Upon my personal experience in ASEAN related affairs as a Thai youth representative to the 1st ASEAN+3 Youth Caucus held in Nakhonpathom, ASEAN YOUTH FORUM in Bangkok, Vietnam and recently in Indonesia, and also an official observer from ASEAN YOUTH MOVEMENT to AUN Educational Forum organized by Mahidol University in May, I thus recognize a great importance of youth involvement and participation in ASEAN activities in order to enhance ASEAN solidarity and to exercise sensitivity in handling issues which might affect ASEAN’s next step to achieve ASEAN community by 2015 together with a profound cooperation with East Asia in order to build a caring and sharing society. Moreover, there is a significance for education cooperation which was clearly stated as one of the priorities in the ASEAN+3 cooperation under the Second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation and ASEAN+3 Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2017) and once again mentioned in Joint Statement of the 5th ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (5th ASED) in 2010. The future ASEAN-ROK cooperation must therefore be exercised in youth engagement in education cooperation through the use of multimedia which I willingly purpose as followings;

In the national level, the two existing activities – Planning Workshop to Develop an ASEAN Consortium of Schools of Social Work and Practices and Exchange Visit of ASEAN and Korean Media People – must therefore be collectively deepened and cooperated as there is a need of youth engagement in promoting people’s welfare especially the poor, marginalized and disadvantages under the establishment of ASEAN Social Work Consortium (ASWC)  and also a need for these disadvantages, not just students living in capital city to gain first-hand knowledge/experience about Korea as a very potential ASEAN+3 member, to develop understanding and also friendship and to learn where ASEAN stands in a relation with Korea in order to be more creative and active through the broadening of viewpoints and the participation in exchange visit of ASEAN and Korean Media People in order to emphasize the role and power of media [not only television and video but also video sharing websites (e.g. Youtube) and social networking (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) ] to educate, engage and empower in as essence that media must also be a means for all to access to information, and this will unleash the potential of young people to contribute to social and economic development in the region and also to make them ready for ASEAN community in 2015 in which a highly well-equipped knowledge is in demand for active competition.

In the regional level, according to the 12th ASEAN-ROK Summit in 2009, there was an important recognition of future generations in promoting ASEAN-ROK relations, ASEAN-ROK cyber university was emphasized and urged to continue its establishment in ASEAN member countries supported by the Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) for an extension of e-learning and e-training systems which will not only reform the education environment and human resource training but also enhance the tight co-operative relations between ASEAN-ROK relations. The youth role especially Thai youth in this aspect is to initiate a long-term plan for Thailand to be hub of ASEAN University with a strong support from AUN (ASEAN University Network) members; Chulalonkorn University, Chiang Mai University, Mahodol University and Burapha University together with their student-run academic divisions.

While government must take the lead, efforts will be more successful if this is done in close collaboration with Youth as young generations of the society because “Youth are not only leaders of tomorrow but partners of today” (Kofi Annan). Participation in both national and regional level as proposed earlier would be great opportunities for youth at all level to exercise both their mental and intellectual skills in living in a region so-called ASEAN.

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