The challenges for ASEAN's next generation
As it moves toward community, ASEAN needs greater inclusion and fresh ideas
April-June 2014
By: David L Carden

The challenges for ASEAN’s next generation As it moves toward community, ASEAN needs greater inclusion and fresh ideas Since its founding in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been shaped by strong leaders who recognized the need for a concerted, multilateral partnership of member states to capitalize on the opportunities and address the challenges facing the region.

These leaders were visionaries. They understood that the world would require more engagement and cooperation to further the interests of their nations, whose destinies would be intertwined. Few, if any, regional multilateral organizations can claim ASEAN’s success. Unfortunately, its successes have not always been recognized, in part because in focusing on initiatives and milestones that can be “measured,” ASEAN has not received proper recognition for progress in areas that are hard to quantify. Score cards, economic growth statistics and trade figures are important, but they do not tell the whole story. Certainly ASEAN’s founders would not have recognized the value of their vision in exclusively quantitative terms. The future of ASEAN and its member states will depend more on what cannot be measured than what can.

In addition, any analysis of ASEAN’s performance and prospects necessarily relates to much more than the borderless challenges and opportunities that have defined its agenda. The most critical issues are not the challenges and opportunities themselves, but what ASEAN, the member states and their citizens bring to those challenges and what is being done to meet them. I'm going to focus on four factors that I believe would facilitate the realization of ASEAN’s aspirations. They are as follows:

1. The emergence of a new generation of political, religious, academic and business leaders to build on ASEAN’s past success;

2. The empowerment and protection of ASEAN’s people;

Please login to leave a comment