In March of 2009 Mahidol University International College, in collaboration with Kyushu University of Japan, Mahidol University and the ASEAN Secretariat, initiated ASEAN in Today’s World, which was conducted at the college facilities and the Salaya Pavilion Hotel.

The three-week program was meant to instill a deeper understanding of ASEAN and ASEAN+3 (Japan, China and South Korea) among undergraduate and graduate students, enabling them to develop a proficiency in regional languages and explore the nuances of different cultures.

Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, then Secretary General of ASEAN, delivered the keynote address, focusing on the recently-ratified ASEAN Charter which he characterized as a “living document “ that required the support, cooperation and participation of all people in the region, particularly the younger generation.

The student participants represented top universities in Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Japan and China. They were required to take ASEAN Studies courses, which included such topics as Current Affairs and ASEAN, Public Health and Global AIDS, Japanese Popular Culture and Crisis Management in terms of the environment, food supply and natural disasters, in addition to one course in Basic Japanese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesian or Vietnamese. These classes were complemented by a number of cultural excursions to the greater metropolitan Bangkok area and its surrounding provinces.

Given the success of the program, ASEAN in Today’s World became an annual event, which was hosted by MUIC in 2010 and 2011 as well. The following year the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, the Philippines, hosted the program and will do so again in 2013.

With the approach of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, ASEAN in Today’s World will continue to flourish and promote the interests of this new regional community.

For information about our Southeast Asian Studies Program, click here