ASEAN: Call for a Stronger Regional Identity

Bandar Seri Begawan – At the 48th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN-COCI), the Association made a call for a stronger regional identity. This is in line with the Association’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.

Rozan Yunus, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Brunei, said in his opening remarked that “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 civilisations.

“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.

The Committee on Culture and Information was established in 1978, the same year that ASEAN Foreign Ministers agreed to set up an ASEAN Cultural Fund to preserve cultural ASEAN heritage and foster greater cultural interaction and awareness of Southeast Asian cultures.

Cambodia will succeed Brunei Darussalam as chair of the Committee in 2014, which includes representatives of various government ministries in ASEAN as well as radio and television broadcasters, museums, libraries and national archives. Source: