ASEAN pushes for stronger regional identity

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Nov. 22 (PNA/Xinhua) — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is making efforts to push for a stronger regional identity, which is in line with the group’s objective of conserving and preserving cultural heritage, promoting cultural creativity and industries, and engaging with the community as part of the broader goal of building an ASEAN identity, an ASEAN press release said Friday.

At the 48th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN-COCI) held Thursday in this city, Rozan Yunus, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei, said “ASEAN-COCI and its two sub-committees had played a key role in raising awareness of ASEAN over the years. Activities such as the ASEAN Quiz had done much to educate our people about our diverse cultures, especially our young people.”

Further, he remarked that “the goal here is to connect our people beyond our borders, bridge cultural gaps and articulate the benefits of regional integration as we move towards the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015.”

ASEAN Leaders accordingly tasked all three ASEAN Community Councils to communicate their efforts to relevant sectors, people and stakeholders, including through traditional, mainstream and new media which will all contribute to creating a sense of belonging, consolidating unity and diversity as well as deepening mutual understanding of cultures, histories, religions and civilizations.

“But they also noted the need for improvement in others, the most important one, especially to us here is in the areas of disseminating information and the reporting mechanisms we use,” the Permanent Secretary said.

Meanwhile, in support of Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh, who is also the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator, the ASEAN-COCI agreed to use the ASEAN Cultural Fund to assist the Philippines in restoring and preserving cultural heritage in the areas hit by typhoon Haiyan. (PNA/Xinhua)