JAKARTA, 18 May 2015 – ASEAN Senior Officials on Culture and the Arts met at the ASEAN Secretariat last week, 12-14 May, to set policies and strategies on promoting the culture and art sector of the ASEAN region. They also discussed how to celebrate the launching of ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, as well as ways for culture and the arts to contribute to building a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN.

“A key challenge is broadening and deepening appreciation of our cultural diversity, elevating it to be the main platform toward genuine and lasting regional identity and sense of ownership among the ASEAN peoples,” said H.E. AKP Mochtan, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General for Community and Corporate Affairs, who delivered an opening remark at 11th ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Culture and Arts (SOMCA).

The 11th SOMCA was chaired by Mr. Le Ngoc Dinh, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam. “The meeting is important in that ASEAN will be charting its future in the post-2015 environment,” Mr. Dinh stressed. He added that the culture and art sector needs to facilitate intercultural dialogue among the peoples of ASEAN and highlight the role of culture in promoting sustainable development in the ASEAN region.

A series of meetings with external parties took place during this time to discuss common goals and mechanisms of culture and art cooperation. The SOMCA met their counterparts from China, Japan, and the Republic Korea to discuss priorities and resources to strengthen cultural cooperation programmes. The SOMCA Plus Three Meeting was also convened to promote the centrality of culture and the arts in advancing mutual respect and meaningful partnership throughout the region. Other meetings with UNESCO, and the ASEAN Centres in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea explored partnership opportunities.

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More information and pictures of the meetings can be found at the ASEAN-COCI Website (http://cultureandinformation.asean.org/) and our Facebook and Twitter Page.