44th ASEAN Day
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrated the 44th anniversary of the Bangkok Declaration on 8 August 2011. The Bangkok Declaration, signed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, is the founding agreement between ASEAN member countries. Brunei Darussalam (1984), Vietnam (1995), Lao PDR (1997), Myanmar (1997), Cambodia (1999) have since become members. This day marks the creation of ASEAN as a regional entity and a driving force behind regional and global initiatives for peace and prosperity.
Photos: via ASEAN Secretariat
Representatives from ASEAN member states participated in the ceremony through televised speeches, concerts and flag raising ceremonies. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia gave a speech commemorating ASEAN Day. For the first time in its history, ASEAN countries raised flags at their own missions at 8:30 am local time in recognition of this historic date.
In continuance of its tradition of fostering greater collaboration amongst its member states, ASEAN has been working towards fostering three distinct yet inter-related communities since the Bali Concord II (2003): the Political-Security Community, the Economic Community and the Socio-Cultural Community. These initiatives have provided unique opportunities for cooperation between state and non-state actors. The Socio-Cultural Community, designed to promote equity and inclusive development, demonstrates ASEAN’s commitment to improving the standard of living and the interconnectivity of its people. ASEAN Day is both a celebration of the past accomplishments of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its future goals.
The Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) for the ASEAN Region was created in recognition of and support for the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community. The IDPP is a network of universities. Its current membership includes the School of International Service at American University, Ateneo de Manila, De la Salle University, Mahidol University, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the University of Indonesia, and the University of Malaya. It also currently has two outreach and capacity building organizations: the Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability and the International Council for Education of Persons with Visual Impairment. The IDPP receives the generous support and guidance of The Nippon Foundation.