SPEECH FOR SG LE LUONG MINH
ASEAN-RUSSIA YOUTH SUMMIT
14 May 2013 (16.00-16.30 PM)

“The Role of Youth in ASEAN Community Building”

H.E. Mr. Igor Morgulov, Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for Asian Affairs
Ambassadors,
Youth Participants
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen

1. I wish to extend my warmest greetings here in Jakarta.

2. I would also like express my appreciation to the organisers and especially H.E. Mikhail Gazulin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to ASEAN, and H.E. Hasnudin Hmazah, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to ASEAN, for inviting me to be part of this Summit.

3. In discussing the issue of Youth, perhaps it would be beneficial for this Forum to have an overview of the role of youth in ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners, which includes Russia.

4. Let me start by recalling the ASEAN Charter, in that one of ASEAN’s purposes is to “promote a people-oriented ASEAN in which all sectors of society are encouraged to participate in, and benefit from, the process of ASEAN integration and community building”.

5. This highlights a strong focus and social dimensions of development in ASEAN; and represents ASEAN’s aspirations to lift the quality of life of its peoples and to strengthen its cultural identity towards building a people-oriented ASEAN.

6. Around 60 per cent of ASEAN population today comprises of those under 35 years old. They are the region’s greatest assets to shape the future of our region. It is therefore essential that young people to have awareness of the region, greater understanding of our richness and diversity in cultures, and thus, contribute to realisation of our Leaders’ aspirations and dreams in building a people-oriented ASEAN Community by 2015.

7. Youth has always been high on the agenda of ASEAN since the Declaration of Principles to Strengthening ASEAN Collaboration on Youth in Bangkok on 24 June 1983. Following this Declaration, several platforms have been set up, such as ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth and Committee for ASEAN Youth Cooperation, to engage more with youth, and tap their potential in ASEAN community building.

8. ASEAN Leaders at the 22nd ASEAN Summit on 24 – 25 April 2013 acknowledged the key role young people will play in ensuring the development and sustainability of the region. They expressed strong support for initiatives that instil a sense of community including the establishment of an ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme (AYVP) and a regional youth volunteer initiative. ASEAN Leaders also recognised that young professionals are in a unique position to boost ASEAN solidarity by offering voluntary community services in areas such as rural development, disaster relief, health, education and the environment as well as supporting vulnerable groups, including people who are differently-abled, and fostering entrepreneurial skills.

9. The youth cooperation in ASEAN has been intensified over the years to reflect the community building efforts. The centre of youth activities will be focused to more meaningful and impactful initiatives, following four strategic areas:

  • Promoting ASEAN Awareness;
  • Strengthening Entrepreneurship Skills for Youth;
  • Instilling Leadership Values in Youth Development;
  • Volunteerism

10. ASEAN and Russia has set up our relations since July 1991. Russia was subsequently become a full Dialogue Partner of ASEAN at the 29th AMM in July 1996 in Jakarta. Both sides have enjoyed a wide range of activities, from culture, science and technology, energy, SMEs, tourism and human resource development, and people-to-people exchanges.

11. The ASEAN Centre at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO), launched in Moscow on 15 June 2010, is indeed one of our initiatives to further promote trade, tourism, and awareness of ASEAN to Russian people, and vice versa.

12. This First ASEAN-Russia Youth Summit at the ASEAN Centre presents an avenue to enhance ASEAN’s profile and motivates the younger generation of ASEAN and Russia to foster closer ties which should contribute to new ideas to further strengthen ASEAN-Russia cooperation.

13. ASEAN and Russia must continuously engage the youth sector as it is essential that their potential and leadership be fully tapped to shape ASEAN’s economic, social, political and technological developments and ensure regional peace and prosperity within the region.

14. In conclusion, I wish to commend and extend our appreciation to the organizers for convening this important event. May you have a fruitful discussion and build a network with your regional colleagues over the next few days.

15. Thank you and all the best.

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