On 27 January 2017, Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, organized "The Launch of Activities Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of ASEAN" at Vithes Samosorn, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, presiding over the opening ceremony.
1. Prior to the opening ceremony, a few paralleled activities were arranged namely the Handover Ceremony of ASEAN Tribute and Recognition medals for ASEAN Athletes of the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics from the Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs to the Director-General of the Department of Physical Education, teen celebrity interviews, as well as mini ASEAN games for students from Young Ambassador of Virtue Foundation's network schools.
2. The opening ceremony was followed by the Inaugural 50th Anniversary of ASEAN Special Lecture titled "ASEAN@50: For Now and Posterity" by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of ASEAN and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. Attending the Special Lecture were approximately 300 members of diplomatic corps, international organizations, representatives from public and private sectors associated with ASEAN, and university deans. Also presented were Mr. Thitivuth Khoman, son of Dr. Thanat Khoman, one of ASEAN's founding fathers, and Dr. Sompong Sucharitkul, drafter of the ASEAN Declaration.
In his lecture, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan mentioned how ASEAN was born in the midst of turmoil, but we were determined to secure the future for our posterity. ASEAN has been successful in bringing more powerful countries in the distant to come to our table as dialogue partners. This is the reverse of the European Union (EU) because in the case of the EU, powerful countries such as France and Germany got together and brought smaller countries onto the platform. ASEAN did the reverse and made sure the convening power it has attracts the likes of the United States and China, etc. ASEAN is, therefore, a platform connecting to the world. However, as ASEAN is turning 50, it must adapt to many challenges particularly to the fact that multilateralism is under attack as seen in the case of the EU and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
After the ceremony, a plaque of honor was given to Dr. Surin Pitsuwan by H.E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
3. A luncheon reception was hosted by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for those attending the event.
4. An Open Roundtable which was a brainstorming session between the Department of ASEAN Affairs and various ASEAN Centers under Universities across the country was arranged in the afternoon under the topic "ASEAN Studies: From Now to the Future."
As 2017 marks an important milestone for ASEAN, the Ministry is planning to organize commemorative events throughout the year. The Launch acts as a kickoff event with many more activities to follow with an aim to commemorate as well as raise awareness of ASEAN's half-century journey which began with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration at the Saranrom Palace in Bangkok on 8 August 1967. Now ASEAN has matured and evolved to become a Community that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible. The Special Lecture titled "ASEAN@50: For Now and Posterity" is the first in the series of lecture to be organized by the Ministry which is planning on inviting ASEAN experts to share their experiences on ASEAN.
For those who are interested, please visit https://www.facebook.com/saranromradio for a video clip of the whole event.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand