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ASEAN Lecture on "ASEAN: Next 50"

The ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute was pleased to host the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who delivered the 15th ASEAN Lecture on Singapore’s priorities as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2018. The transcript of the speech as well as the question-and-answer session can be accessed here.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan delivering the 15th ASEAN Lecture on 5 December 2017 (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

Dr Balakrishnan began by saying that ASEAN is at inflexion point today because the world itself is facing uncertainties especially in the areas of geopolitical balance, demographics and ideological divides. 

Participants at the ASEAN Lecture (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

Dr Balakrishnan went on to describe the unlikely beginnings of ASEAN at a time when Cold War politics gripped the region, and said that if the region had not come together, it would have been a mere collection of proxies and vassal states to the major powers. With Southeast Asia’s population reaching 628 million today – 60% of whom are below the age of 35 – it is even more imperative for member states to foster regional integration through ASEAN, work together to have a louder voice on the global stage and overcome each country’s respective national interests without abandoning it. 

Professor Tommy Koh engaging the minister during the Q&A session (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

Singapore’s priorities as it takes on the ASEAN chairmanship in 2018 is to strengthen ASEAN’s resilience and expanding our innovative capacities. Singapore will seek to promote an ASEAN Smart Cities’ Network to enable seamless flows of ideas to seize the opportunities brought about by the digital revolution; build collective resilience to combat terrorism, extremism and transboundary crime; strengthen ASEAN’s dynamism by investing in our youth’s skills development; and ensure economic resilience through a high-quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. 

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan exchanging pleasantries with Mr Fang Xinwen, Charge d'affaires a.i of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China (Source: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute) 

Close to 150 people from the private sector, diplomatic corps, academia as well as schools attended the ASEAN Lecture.

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