Jakarta, 23 March 2011

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The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr Surin Pitsuwan, and Indonesia’s Vice President Boediono met this morning to discuss potential initiatives to ignite the ASEAN spirit during Indonesia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN this year. The two met at the Vice Presidential Palace, Jakarta.

“The extensive list of people-oriented activities was drawn as a swift act on President Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s directive,” said Dr Surin. “With 16 flagship programmes to consider, the difficulty will be deciding which will have the highest impact for our people’s wellbeing economically, physically and in spirit.”

The dynamic events and projects proposed will support Indonesia’s theme of “ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations.” Each will have broad appeal, help community building and contribute to the welfare of the people.

“We want to capture the mind and spirit of the whole of ASEAN – Leaders, business communities, youth, women and vulnerable groups alike,” added Dr Surin.

The initiative would complement Indonesia’s vision to globalise ASEAN and turn it into a people-oriented association. These activities are also expected to strengthen the cohesion of ASEAN and extend its reach in the global community, the Secretary-General noted.

Vice President Boediono appreciated the enthusiasm, ideas and potential.

During a Plenary Cabinet Session last year, President SBY, as he is affectionately known in Indonesia, stressed that the public should be involved in all ASEAN events and that Indonesia would engage the youth, students, business communities and civil society organisations at all stages of preparation to implementation. The President also directed the Vice President to chair the National Committee for Indonesia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN to cooperate with the ASEAN Secretariat to ensure the success of these events.

Both Dr Surin and Vice President Boediono agreed to maintain close relations and dialogue in selecting project priorities. Some work has already begun, while others will need to be explored for immediate opportunities.