7th Asia Economic Forum
From 29-31.07.2011, the 7th Asia Economic Forum is held in Hotel le Royal, Phnom Penh. The topic of the forum is “The Asian Century in the Making: Achievements, Challenges and Future Trends”. More than 200 participants represent governments from many countries in Asia, think tanks, NGOs, universities, are sharing their views and thought concerning Asia, now and the future. Members of parliament, Senators, members of the diplomatic community, policy makers, and academics are also among the participants. The Forum is organized by the Asia Economic forum-The University of Cambodia. It is sponsored by the International Foundation for Arts and Culture, Japan.
The forum was presided over by H.E. Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance. Dr. Kao Kim Huon, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the University of Cambodia and Advisor to the Prime Minister, is one of the leading figures in organizing all the conferences, which happens every year since 2004 in Cambodia. Another important person is H.E. Dr. Haruhisa Handa, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Cambodia; Founder and Chairman of Asia Economic Forum; Chancellor, the University of Cambodia; President and Founder of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.
The Forum aims to achieve the following:
- Examine how Asia is responding to the economic, political, social and environmental challenges facing the region and the world.
- Analyze Asia’s achievements and challenges, particularly during the first decade of the
“Asian Century”, and discuss the implications for the future.
- Determine how world events affect Asia’s development and in search for a synergistic leadership in regional and global affairs.
- Identify ways to further develop Asia’s evolving regional architecture by involving participants in dialogue regarding issues facing Asia in the 21st century.
There were 8 sessions during the two days conference with plenty of time for Q & A.
- The Quest for Asia’s Regional Architecture
- Regional Peace and Security
- Food and Energy Security
- Next Generation’s views: The Voice of the Future of Asia
- Sustaining Asia’s Economic Recovery
- Education, Gender Equality and Economic Development
- Environment, Climate Change and Natural Disasters
- Asia’s Search for leadership Synergy
Among the prominent speakers and moderators is Secretary General of ASEAN, US Ambassador, Australian Ambassador, Singapore Ambassador, Minister of Women Affairs, Minister of Environment, Secretary of State, Businessmen, ADB etc. Besides, 30 selected young leaders from many countries attended this forum, seven (3 female) are from Cambodia. One of them is Mr. Soth Nimol, member of IAF Cambodia Alumni and another one is Miss Vong Socheata, our next candidate for IAF Seminar in Germany.
In one of his opening remarks, Mr. Keat Chhon stressed that “the process of building the ASEAN Economic Community is in good shape with the establishment of ASEAN Free Trade Area on trade in goods, services and investments as well as the implementation of the ASEAN single window and trade facilitation”.
My impressions concerning overall arrangements of the forum:
- High quality speakers, facilitator, comments and questions
- High level of participants and participation from the audience
- Stimulating discussion and interaction; partly thanks to active participants, provocative questions and comments, rectangular seating arrangements etc
- Very active participation of the young leaders group. Very impressed by the performance of our Cambodian young leaders as speakers and as participants asking questions or giving comments
- Covers quite a range of topics, from Leadership to food security and climate changes etc.
- High number of participants and percentage of participation for all the two days (till the last minutes of the forum more than 90% of participants were present)
- Maximum usage of the time, starting at 8:00 am; finished at 6:00 pm, with 15 minutes coffee break and 50 minutes to one hour lunch break
- high quality of function venue and services
- Last, but not least: there were many stars of the day, but one of them is H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN.
I would like to pay my highest gratitude to the organizers, funders, distinguished speakers, facilitator and guests for this very fruitful and colorful forum.