Public Lecture on ASEAN Women and Children Protection through Civil Society and Academic Participation

The ASEAN Studies Center of Universitas Gadjah Mada, with the sipport of the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta has conducted a series of discussions regarding the ASEAN Commission on the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) to map possible engagement efforts with the aim of strengthening the promotion and protection of women and children in the region. The series of discussions have commenced since October 2020 following the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the ACWC.

On Monday, 30 August 2021 a Public Lecture titled “ASEAN Women and Children Protection through Civil Society and Academic Participation” was held to further map potential roles that CSOs and think tanks can play to further advocate for the of women and children. The Lecture was officially opened by the opening remarks from Dr. Dafri Agussalim as the Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Center UGM, and H.E. Amb. Lambert Grijns as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to Indonesia, Timor-Leste, and ASEAN.

This Public Lecture was attended by approximately 60 participants from across ASEAN members. Moderated by Ms. Yuyum Fhahni Paryani, former Indonesian Representative for the ACWC on Children’s Rights, the discussion invited four panelists namely Dato Paduka Dr Haji Junaidi bin Haji Abd. Rahman as the ACWC Chair and Brunei Darussalam’s Representative for Children’s Rights, Ms. Yanti Kusumawardhani, Indonesia’s Representative to the ACWC for Children’s Rights, Ms. Santi Kusumaningrum, Director of PUSKAPA – Center on Child Protection and Wellbeing at the University of Indonesia, and Ms. Rachel Tan, as Program Officer and focal point for the Women Gender and Diversity Working Group of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN).

The discussion highlighted a number of issues including the role of CSOs and the academic community which is to support the State in undertaking the obligation as duty bearer in fulfilling the rights of Children, to contribute to CRC Alternative Report CRC in order to support the government efforts on implementing CRC including ensuring child participation, to undertake research on the situation and well-being of women and children, and contribute on implementing Concluding Observation of CRC beneficial as foundation works on measures to child rights realizations.

The academic community can also come together by directing the government towards three main areas of support for women and children: social protection, family support and specialized protection. These points are to be included in policy briefs/suggestions to inform policy makers of an added layer of vulnerability and risk experienced by children due to miscalculated policies.

The importance of participatory approaches was also highlighted during the discussion, especially on issues concerning refugee women and children. The ACWC can play a strategic role in engaging and consolidating the many different fronts and actors to prevent miscalculated policies from being found.

The discussion also invited discussants, namely H.E. Yuyun Wahyuningrum, the Representative of Indonesia to AICHR, Mr. Ali Aulia Ramly, Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF Indonesia, and Ms. Audrey Lee, Senior Program Manager at International Women’s Right Action Watch Asia-Pacific (IWRAW-AP).

The discussion was closed by Ms. Yuyum Fhani Paryani as the moderator with a summary of the discussion which was carried out.

Bincang ASEAN “Myanmar Protests and Unrest: A Test of ASEAN Diplomacy”

On Friday, 23 April 2021, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada held a Webinar Series titled “Myanmar Protests and Unrest: A Test of ASEAN Diplomacy” which was led by Managing Director, Yulida Nuraini Santoso. The discussion highlighted the campaign of #FreeSawLin and diplomatic efforts by ASEAN member states during this crucial time, especially as the member states were scheduled to gather at the ASEAN Leader’s Meeting on Saturday, 24 April 2021.

Nicolas Jude Martinez, a representative of the #FreeSawLin campaign from the Global Campus Coalition for Human Rights (GCCHR) explained that the campaign was launched to bring together people from all regions to fight for equality, restorative justice, and democracy, especially in education. The arbitrary arrest of Saw Lin Htet, a citizen of Myanmar, who happened to be studying human rights is just one out of the many cases of people who had been affected by the restriction of freedom to education by the military Junta. Education is the gateway to livelihood and this in turn helps to create an economic safety net which is much needed for communities at risk.

From a regional point of view, Dr. Rizal Sukma, Central for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia, and former Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia for UK, Ireland, and IMO explained that if any change were to happen, this would greatly depend on the Leaders Meeting and the negotiation package put forward by ASEAN member states. Despite the large criticism of member states acknowledging the military Junta by welcoming them at the Leaders meeting, he argues that this is in fact necessary for a meaningful dialogue to take place and serves a greater chance for killings and fatalities to come to an end.

The discussion also discussed the coup being a momentum for revisiting the ASEAN Charter which had for a long time been critiqued by the international community for excluding meaningful notions of responding towards human rights above Centrality and the mandate that the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights can play in a situation as such. Dr Rizal states that, “we need more than just sanctions, we need the support of the international community. But for now, what is most important is how to stop the killings and how ASEAN can come together to assist in order to create a safe environment for a meaningful dialogue.”

The full webinar discussion can be accessed on our YouTube Channel, titled Bincang ASEAN “Myanmar Protests and Unrest: A Test of ASEAN Diplomacy” by following the link below:

#ASEAN #SoutheastAsia #Myanmar #Coup #CSIS #GlobalCampusCoalitionForHumanRights #WhatIsHappeningInMyanmar #FreeSawlin #ASEANStudiesCenter #ASC #UGM

Network on ASEAN-China Think Tanks (NACT) Annual Meeting 2021

The 2021 NACT Annual Meeting, which also marks the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, was held on March 19, 2021. In his opening remarks, President of China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Xu Jian, stated that in times of difficulties where the COVID-19 pandemic challenges multilateralism, it is the region’s ultimate fight to curb the virus’s spread while at the same time strengthen the commitment in regional partnership in coping with the adverse impacts on the social and economic sector.

On a similar note, Dr. Nguyen Hung Son, the Vice President of Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam (DAV), acknowledged that the forum could be a platform to discuss and comprehend each view on the Southeast Asia region’s development. On this occasion, the panel is expected to promote good relationships and bring prosperity to the parties. As an essential dialogue partner, a substantive partnership among NACT members is needed in order to construct ideal regional architecture. In regards to current challenges, the foundation of the cooperation must be based on responsibility and responsiveness.

The moderated discussion was attended by nine keynote speakers from each of NACT members and was parted into two panels; (1) Economy and Sustainable Development in ASEAN – China Relations, moderated by Dr. To Minh Tu (DAV), and (2) Economy and Sustainable Development in ASEAN – China Relations, moderated by Prof. Guo Yanjun (CFAU). NACT Indonesia was represented by Mrs. Yulida Nuraini Santoso (Managing Director of ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada) with a research paper titled “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030: Reducing the Gap of Inequality through ASEAN-China Trade Relations.” In her statement, Mrs. Yulida proposed ways forward in eradicating inequality, such as strengthening the partnership between China and ASEAN, which is based on mutual benefits and exchanging innovation among international organizations.

The meeting was concluded with a hope to enhance mutual trust and understanding between China and ASEAN member states, as well as exchanging knowledge and perspective to ensure stability, resilience, and development in the region.

Focus Group Discussion ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation: “”The Role of ICT as a Tool in Mitigating Conflict and Fostering Peace”


Monday, 25 January 2021 ASEAN Studies Center UGM attended Focus Group Discussion (FGD) organized by ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation with the main theme “The Role of ICT as a Tool in Mitigating Conflict and Fostering Peace”. ASC UGM was represented by Tunggul Wicaksono, Pulung S. Perbawani, Treviliana Eka Putri, and Joash Elisha Stephen Tapiheru.

This FGD by ASEAN-IPR was held for the first time in a hybrid format, attended by representatives from the Governing Council, Advisory Body, AWPR, and numerous think-tanks from across ASEAN countries. The purpose of this FGD is to bring together various views on ICT empowerment in peace reconciliation as well as provide a platform for collaboration and cooperation among think tanks in the region.

After the FGD session, Executive Director of ASEAN-IPR H.E. Amb. I Gusti Wesaka Puja paid a visit to the ASC-UGM office and met with the Chancellor of Universitas Gadjah Mada Prof. Ir. Panut Mulyono at the UGM Balairung Rectorate Office.

#ASC #UGM #AseanStudiesCenter #ASEAN #webinarseries #covid19 #Monograph #BringingASEANCloserToYou #ASEAN_IPR #FGD #asean_ipr_fgd

Press Release – “Diplomatic Briefing on the ACWC 10th Year Commemoration – Solidifying the Role of Think Tanks and CSOs in the Advocacy to Strengthen the ASEAN Commission of Women and Children (ACWC)”

In continuation of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the ASEAN Studies Center UGM conducted a Diplomatic Briefing discussing the Commission’s work in the past decade and future outlook of its work. This event was held virtually on Friday, 9 October 2020, also with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and FORUM-ASIA.

Carrying the same theme, namely “Solidifying the Role of Think Tanks and CSO in the Advocacy to Strengthen the ASEAN Commission of Women and Children (ACWC)”, the forum invited the insights, experiences and thoughts from the audience on ways to further the cause of promoting the rights and protection of women and children in the region.

The meeting commenced with opening remarks delivered by Dr. Dafri Agussalim, Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Center UGM, followed by speech by Prof. Roel van der Veen, Head of Political Affairs of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and also Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA to launch the Report of FORUM-ASIA titled Assessing the Commission’s Impact on Protecting Women and Children’s Rights in ASEAN. Dr. Dafri emphasized the importance of promoting, ensuring the rights of women and children as they are an integral part of a thriving community. The success of ASEAN in empowering  and protecting the rights of women and children will likely lead us to become a successful region in the future. In line with this, Prof. van der Veen also stated the commitment of the Netherlands to always support ASEAN in reinforcing its regionalism, where it can be achieved by having strong regional institution that can ensure and protect the rights of its citizens, including women and children.

The discussion session of the Diplomatic Briefing was moderated by Andy Yentriyani Commissioner of the Committee for the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan). To start the discussion, Rachel Arinii Judhiastri, FORUM-ASIA, highlighted several key findings on FORUM-ASIA Report on the ACWC+10 including the fact that only 25% of the 2016-2020 Workplan had been implemented. This was due to several challenges in the region such as the Rohingya crisis, other human rights abuse towards marginalized groups, and lack of engagement in CEDAW and CRC reporting which clearly affected the responsiveness of ACWC in addressing issues relating to human rights of women and children. However, ACWC had also achieved notable milestones such as the Declaration on the Protection of Children from all Forms of Online Exploitation and Abuse in ASEAN, the campaign on Trafficking in Persons and also the nexus to Violation Against Women. Therefore, as she also emphasized, there is a need to have strong regional mechanism which can accelerate the efforts in achieving gender equality, particularly within the Southeast Asia region.

Agustina Kustulasari, Senior Fellow, ASEAN Studies Center UGM, highlighted how ASEAN principles have hindered the decision making process and implementation of regulations and conventions related to the human rights issues, such as the rights of women and children. Therefore, to address this situation carefully, several recommendations included to involve more policy actors and media as the fourth pillar of democracy which can bring public opinions into the agenda setting and accelerate policymaking processes in the region. Engagement with the media in campaigning sensitive journalism will help amplify the use of appropriate terms when advocating issues to the government. She also mentioned the importance of involving the academia in conducting research related to the concerns of ACWC . This will help nudge ASEAN governments to place the issue of women and children, higher in the regional agenda.

H.E. Dr. Ratchada Jayagupta, ACWC Thailand, as respondent, focused her presentation on the implementation of ACWC TOR in Thailand. The ACWC Thailand had endorsed the ACWC gender sensitive guidelines on handling women victim of human trafficking in 2016, and translated the guidelines into Thai. A pilot project for capacity building was also conducted where it involved officials and CSOs working together on advocating particularly on anti-human trafficking. ACWC Thailand also attempted to increase the visibility of ACWC through various social media and channels to provide information and regular activities of the commission, as well as making the channels as a direct communication platform with all ACWC Representatives. The dialogue was then followed with a Q&A session where it discussed the hindrances of substantive engagement between ACWC and other ASEAN bodies, CSOs, think tanks, and also donors within the region. In general, during the ten years of the ACWC journey in advocating rights for women and children, the engagement with ASEAN mechanisms and other CSOs in the region had faces various challenges including limited resources, staffing in implementing its activities and overall support from ASEAN member countries. The limited visibility of the information about ACWC also may be one of the factors that affected the quality of the substantive engagement with the bodies, compared to other ASEAN human rights mechanisms.

Press Release – Webinar “Solidifying the Role of Think Tanks and CSOs in the Advocacy to Strengthen the ASEAN Commission of Women and Children (ACWC)”

Yogyakarta, 8 October 2020.

On Thursday, 8 October 2020, ASEAN Studies Center UGM held a webinar under the theme of Solidifying the Role of Think Tanks and CSOs in the Advocacy to Strengthen the ASEAN Commission of Women and Children (ACWC). The webinar, with the support of Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and FORUM-ASIA, was held online via YouTube at 9am. The webinar was held to launch the Report on the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) +10 titled Assessing the Commission’s Impact on Protecting Women and Children’s Right in ASEAN, composed by FORUM-ASIA.

The webinar invited five keynote speakers, namely Rachel Arinii Judhistasari (FORUM-ASIA East Asia and ASEAN Advocacy Programme Manager), Sri Danti Anwar (Indonesia’s ACWC Representative for Women’s Right), Yuyum Fhahni Paryani (Indonesia’s ACWC Representative for Children’s Rights), Yuyun Wahyuningrum (Representative of Indonesia to the AICHR), and Agustina Kustulasari (Senior Fellow, ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada).

The webinar commenced with opening remarks by Dafri Agussalim as Executive Director of ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada, and Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA. Dafri highlighted the importance of protection of women and children as they are also part of the community. Following these remarks, the Report on Assessing the Commission’s Impact on Protecting Women and Childrens Right in ASEAN was officially launched.

The webinar, question, and answer session was moderated by Rita Serena Kolibonso.

The first speaker, Rachel Arinii Judhistasari, explained the findings within the Report with a highlight on the need for a robust regional mechanism to address human rights violations and discrimination. Although the mandate of ACWC includes balancing rights and responsibility, a pretext of religion and socio-cultural norms which often detrimental to children and women’s rights, this has yet to take form. The Report also suggested the importance of solidifying the role of CSOs across the region to support the work of ACWC.

The second speaker representing ACWC (women), Sri Danti Anwar, stated that 15 programs focusing on gender mainstreaming and strengthening human protection had successfully been achieved. Still, further plans need to be carried out, including eliminating violence against women and drafting the standard and protocol guidelines for ACWC. However, these initiatives were not without challenges. There remains a looming gap between the socio-cultural, economic, and political-security communities that often work in silo.

Similar to the effort of the ACWC (women), as specified by Yuyum Fhahni Paryani representing ACWC (children), the implementation of the current ACWC Work Plan 2016-2020 is an effort to be in step with a contemporary trend in the region in these fast-changing times. The next work plan’s strategic initiative would explore a “life-cycle” approach to take a more in-depth look at the needs of women and children in particular. This approach would ensure that they are advocated for and will not be left behind.

Meanwhile, Yuyun Wahyuningrum highlighted synergy efforts between AICHR, ACWC, and CSOs to further the agenda of gender mainstreaming in ASEAN. The creation of regionalization allows us to organize cooperation talks about the rights of women and children. In terms of ASEAN, to develop the standard, states need a space and interconnection through intergovernmental models that centralize on states’ initiatives.

It is also essential to understand similar ratifications pertaining to the rights of women and children, such as Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as Agustina Kustulasari presented in her findings. However, ASEAN’s moves have been slow-paced, particularly in areas of policy-making and implementation. It is challenged mostly by the non-intervention principle and peer-pressure. To address this issue, she suggested the involvement of other strategic policy actors such as the media to play their vital role as a potent agent in shaping the language of gender and the role of academia to provide an academic approach in addressing the challenges of ACWC.

The following are key points summarized from the Question and Answer session, namely: CSOs and think-tanks have to work closer if more advocative policies are to be developed in the future, the importance of distinguishing particular groups to identify their specific needs in the society, such as domestic violence victims during the lockdown, inclusive education to respond to mixed migration, mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 to women and children, and to monitor ASEAN member states’ response to these issues and further develop policy framework through AICHR. These points will be taken into account when establishing the forthcoming working paper.

Press Release – Bincang ASEAN: “Challenges for Indonesia and ASEAN”

Yogyakarta, 3 July 2020

The fourth edition of Bincang ASEAN Webinar was held on Thursday, 23rd July 2020. Co-hosted by the ASEAN Studies Center and the Coordinating Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (Kemenkopolhukam), the event invited five keynote speakers namely: H.E. Ambassador Chilman Arisman (Chief Diplomat of the Directorate of ASEAN political and security cooperation), Dr. Dafri Agussalim (Executive Director of ASC UGM), Dinna Prapto Raharja Ph.D. (Associate professor Binus University), and Abdullah Zulkifli, S.T, M.Si (Assistant Deputy of ASEAN Cooperation at the Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs. The topic of the webinar is “Anticipating traditional and non-traditional security threat in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges for Indonesia and ASEAN”.

The webinar was started with opening remarks from H.E. Ambassador Dr. Lutfi Rauf. He spoke on the economic threat the region faces following the pandemic with the potential to reach a recession, the need for robust cooperation as traditional and non-traditional threat looms after this pandemic and the ASEAN strength in fending off infighting as geopolitical terrain shifts after the pandemic. Following the remarks, Dr. Wawan Mas’udi gave an opening remark as a representative from the Faculty of Social and Political Science Universitas Gadjah Mada. He touched upon the function of academia in knowledge production through academic work in supporting the efforts of handling the pandemic. He also reminded that being a natural leader, Indonesia should be in the front guard in arranging the regional framework to handle COVID-19 cases.

The topics discussed within the webinar are divided into four parts. First, in achieving regional stability, the pillar of the political security of ASEAN must be strengthened as great power competition re-emerges. ASEAN needs to show unity and resilience through the existing framework of political cooperation. Second, ASEAN has several modalities in operating the framework of cooperation in the health sector following the pandemic. The international regime model coined by Koremenos, Lipson, & Snidal (2001) has been used to measure the effectiveness of handling the pandemic. However, the implementation of such a model still leaves incongruities. Thus, ASEAN is given the opportunity to enhance further cooperation, especially in handling the pandemic. Third, there are several commonalities in the interest of ASEAN and Indonesia in maritime security and non-traditional security. The transnational crime could see an increase if states are focused on traditional security threats. Cooperation is an integral part of the safety and security of all member states of ASEAN. Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the scarcity of resources resulting in a larger potential for conflicts. ASEAN could be threatened by such conflict as competition for resources between member states is inevitable. However, member states should uphold the ASEAN cooperation in politics and economy to deter such imminent conflicts.

The biggest challenge for ASEAN is massive uncertainty on all parts. However, the crisis is not parallel to chaos as countries are not faced against one another directly but are struggling to take on the problems faced within. The three components of ASEAN: trust, relevance, and a binding identity, could be the key to maintaining the efficacy of ASEAN’s framework to deal with challenges coming ahead.

Press Release – Bincang ASEAN: “The Past and the Future of ASEAN Health Cooperation”

Yogyakarta, 5 May 2020

ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada held its first Bincang ASEAN Webinar on Tuesday, 5 May 2020, inviting Ahmad Rizky Mardathillah Umar, M.Sc, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, Australia and former Executive Secretary of the Center. Umar shares his take on the current COVID-19 pandemic focusing on the past and future of ASEAN Health Cooperation.

Looking closely at ASEAN’s collective response towards the pandemic, Umar highlights ASEAN’s constrained policies while analysing the history of ASEAN’s health cooperation to understand its nature and possible future trajectories of regional health cooperation. Its current dynamics in responding to the outbreak and its implications can be traced back to the SARS and avian flu crisis in 2000, where it was relatively reactionary and resulted in feedback which was insufficient to address a large-scaled outbreak. This precedence has further shaped ASEAN’s responses which leads us to today’s marginalised policies.

Nonetheless, ASEAN’s nature to over-rely on its non-interference policy, places the policy-making and response strongly under the sovereignty of each ASEAN Member State. The current ASEAN’ response and coordination is argued to be ‘too little too late’ and seemingly complicated. However, this is only an indication that ASEAN can still further collaborate to provide  a more comprehensive response to the crisis. Umar argued that ASEAN needs a collective health surveillance system where technical and sectoral cooperation are encouraged with the need for more funding on research and cooperation at the regional level.

“If we take a look at what ASEAN Member States have done to maintain this collective effort, it shows that it has been not promising enough because the initial effort to contain the pandemic was only undertaken in April, months away from the first reported case. Nonetheless, this seemingly late response is understandable as ASEAN has a complex decision-making process and its existing institutional frameworks are not designed to respond to crises,” Umar explained.

With the establishment of the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund which was officialised during the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 held in April, it is hoped that ASEAN can boost greater future collaboration on regional health. It is also expected that ASEAN can result in more robust responses for critical matters not only in health security but in maintaining regional economic stability. “The fear is not only about the virus, but also the threat of an economic collapse in the future following the health crisis” Umar highlights.

Press Release – Ambassadorial Lecture “After the Commemorative Summit, Future of ASEAN-Korea Strategic Partnership”

On Friday, March 6, 2020, ASEAN Studies Center UGM held an Ambassadorial Lecture by the Ambassador of The Republic of Korea to ASEAN, H.E. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Lim Sungnam, under the theme of “After the Commemorative Summit, Future of ASEAN-Korea Strategic Partnership”. The Ambassadorial Lecture was held at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM).

The Ambassadorial Lecture delivered four topics namely The Korean Miracle, The ASEAN Miracle, Current ASEAN-ROK Relations, and the Future of ASEAN-ROK Relations. During the first discussion, Ambassador Lim Sungnam explained how the Republic of Korea had endured the brutality of colonialism and evolved from the aftermath of the Second World War to become a developed nation in 1989. Ambassador Lim Sungnam referred to this development as the “Miracle of the Han River”. The next section of the Lecture, H.E. Lim Sungnam talked about the origin of ASEAN that had developed from a group of five Southeast Asian Foreign Ministers from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, into a formal organization today consisting of 10 ASEAN Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners . In the third discussion, Ambassador Lim Sungnam explained the relationship of ASEAN and the Republic of Korea which had developed from a sectoral dialogue partnership in 1989 toward the establishment of the first Korean Permanent Mission to ASEAN in 2019. Ambassador Lim Sungnam also emphasized the cultural relations between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea in the field of arts and gender equality, as well as the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund aimed at funding scholars and scientists from ASEAN countries. Lastly, Ambassador Lim Sungnam reiterated President Moon Jae-In’s foreign policy of “New Southern Policy” as the future collaboration between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea which upholds three principles namely people-centered community, prosperity, and peace.

The Lecture was followed by a Questions and Answers session. The session was lively as participants were eager to raise questions on interesting topics. Among them were questions on the Republic of Korea’s stance on ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and Korean Wave (Hallyu) impact on ASEAN countries. Ambassador Lim Sungnam reaffirmed the Republic of Korea’s support for ASEAN on AOIP and empowered the notion of ASEAN countries’ art and culture industries to develop their products in keeping up with the Korean Wave.

In closing the Ambassadorial Lecture, Ambassador Lim Sungnam presented an antique map of Asia from the 18th century to UGM which was followed by an exchange of token of appreciation from the ASEAN Studies Center.

The Ambassadorial Lecture was attended by scholars from around Yogyakarta including Universitas Gadjah Mada, Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII), and Universitas Achmad Dahlan (UAD) and several notable institution and student organization from Yogyakarta.

Press Release: Working Conference – ASEAN-UK Relations in the Changing Regional Architecture

A Working Conference under the theme of “ASEAN-United Kingdom Relations in the Changing Regional Architecture” was held on 18-19 February 2020. It brought together experts from ASEAN Member States and Southeast Asian experts from the United Kingdom to exchange ideas on creating strategic partnership avenues between ASEAN and the United Kingdom with acknowledgement towards the rapidly changing regional architecture. The Conference was held at the recently inaugurated building of the ASEAN Secretariat, Jalan Sisingamangaraja, Jakarta, Indonesia. The two-day event covered presentations and discussions on various topics and was concluded by a site trip around the new and Heritage buildings of the ASEAN Secretariat. The panelists consisted of researchers from the ASEAN Member States, with the exception of representatives from Myanmar and the Philippines who were unable to attend, and the United Kingdom. The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to ASEAN, Deputy Secretary-General of Community and Corporate Affairs, and ASEAN entities also attended the event.

Prior to the Working Conference, a welcoming dinner was hosted on Monday, 17 February 2020, at the 1O1 Hotel Darmawangsa, at 19.00. The following day, Tuesday, 18 February 2020, participants arrived at 08.30 to register before the Conference commenced at 09.00. The Working Conference was officiated with opening remarks from the Executive Director of the ASEAN Studies Center, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to ASEAN, and the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community & Corporate Affairs. The opening was followed by a photo session.

The first session took place after a brief coffee break. Discussions took place under the theme, “ASEAN in the Changing Geostrategic Theatre”. The presenting panelists were from Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, and United Kingdom. The discussion evolved around the institutional agility and internal cohesion of ASEAN’s Centrality, historical references of ASEAN and its present, and further extended to discuss Brexit, Britain, and the World. The first session was concluded with a Question & Answer session.

The second session reconvened after a brief coffee break, at 11.00. The discussions evolved around “ASEAN External Relations” highlighting proposed narratives of researchers from the United Kingdom and Singapore. The session looked into the impacts of Britain’s historical role in the Southeast Asian region, Brexit, United Kingdom’s engagement to ASEAN, and response to the changing regional politics. This session also delved into talks of the ways forward for both ASEAN and the United Kingdom post-Brexit. It proposed focusing on engaging the ASEAN Chairmanship, in effort of establishing a meaningful tie with the region. The session was also followed by a Question & Answer session, and a lunch break.

The third session highlghted the role that the ASEAN entities play in strengthening the ASEAN Communities. The theme of the discussion was an “Introductory Presentation by ASEAN Secretariat and Associated Entities” which brought the views of the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Institute of Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), ASEAN Foundation, and ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA). This session looked into the functions of the Secretariat, how Community building in the region is promoted through peace, stability, and understanding, as well as through the strengthening of the role of the youth.

Due to time constraint, the fourth session was held in conjunction with the fifth. The fourth session highlighted the views of researchers from Thailand, Cambodia, United Kingdom, on “ASEAN and Its People-Centeredness: Still Relevant?”. Participants looked at the challanges and ways forward of the people-centered ASEAN, questioned what bring people-centered and people-oriented means for the community-building effort of ASEAN, how the digital ambition of ASEAN looks like and what opportunities this leaves for the United Kingdom. Further, the panelists also looked into how the people-centered and people-oriented goal of ASEAN would play into the rapidly evolving regional security architecture. This lead to the fifth session under the theme of “ASEAN Regionalism”. Panelists from Vietnam, Malaysia and Lao PDR looked at sectors which provided greater opportunities for a stronger colaboration, namely in education, trade, and security. The Q&A for the fourth and fifth sessions were accommodated in conjuction. All five sessions of the Working Conference were moderated by the ASEAN Studies Centre. The Conference ended at 17.45 afterwhich the participants returned to 101 Hotel Darmawangsa.

Registration for the second day opened at 09.30 at the Video Conference Room, North Tower, ASEAN Secretariat. The session commenced at 10.00 to wrap-up the discussion from the previous day. Participants brainstormed possible outputs of the Working Conference, agreed on solidifying the Network of ASEAN-UK Think Tanks (NAUT) and looked into the possibilities of mainstreaming ASEAN studies in the UK. The discussion was held for two hours and was followed by a photo session. Participants were directed to the Lobby of the ASEAN Secretariat to have a photo session in front of ASEAN emblem, before enjoying the provided lunch. After lunch, participants were facilitated a site visit of public spaces within the new and Heritage ASEAN Secretariat building, by the ASEAN Secretariat. Participants visited the sky bridge connecting the North and South towers of the Secretariat, the Art Gallery, the Nusantara Hall, Library, the recently renovated Gift Shop, and the ASEAN Hall within the premise of the ASEAN Heritage Building. The visit to the ASEAN Heritage Building marked the end of the last day of “Working Conference on ASEAN-UK Relations in the Changing Regional Architecture”.