The Heads of Diplomatic Missions of the ASEAN Member States in Abu Dhabi gathered at the Indonesian Embassy on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 to celebrate the 46th Anniversary of the inception of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Present at the event were Ambassadors of ASEAN’s Dialogue Partner Countries in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives from the business and ASEAN communities in the UAE.

            His Excellency Salman Al Farisi, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia and the current Chair of the ASEAN Committee in Abu Dhabi (ACAD), in his welcome, address highlighted this year’s theme “Our People, Our Future Together” that emphasizes the role of the people of ASEAN in community building efforts to make the region more politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible. The current ACAD Chair also stressed the need to look beyond 2015, the year set as deadline for ASEAN integration, and to provide ASEAN youth, as future leaders, with the necessary attributes and values to face future challenges.

            Among the highlights of the event was the symbolic raising of the ASEAN flag accompanied by the ASEAN Anthem. The event also presented a variety of authentic culinary delights from the different ASEAN Member States.

            The ASEAN Committee in Abu Dhabi (ACAD) was established on 8 August 2011 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Heads of Diplomatic Missions of ASEAN Member States in Abu Dhabi, namely Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The other ASEAN Member States (Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar) do not have embassies in the UAE. ACAD aims to enhance ASEAN cooperation with the UAE and countries in the region, as well as other regional and international organizations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Presently, several ASEAN Member States including Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Viet Nam signed MoU on the establishment of Joint Committees with the UAE.