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ASEAN marks 54th founding anniversary

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrated its 54th founding anniversary on August 8, highlighting Brunei’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year’s theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”.

Addressing the virtual ceremony, which was broadcast live on ASEAN social media channels, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi stressed that since COVID-19 broke out in early 2020, the bloc has take the opportunity to become an more inclusive and resilient community.

He underscored the need for the association to head towards long-term post-pandemic recovery by promoting comprehensive digital transformation in all fields.

For his part, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi called on all member countries to play a more positive role in shaping motivations of the region, promoting principles and values stated in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

"The pandemic is hardly our only challenge, regional peace and stability also demand our attention. Great power rivalries show no signs of diminishing anytime soon and has the potential to sow division among us," she said.

Along with the official speeches, heads or representatives of ASEAN Centres and Facilities conveyed their well wishes to ASEAN.

In parallel to the ASEAN Gallery’s 20th anniversary, the online celebration featured the launch of August Gathering, a commemorative coffee table book of the gallery’s artworks by Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN Lim Sungnam.

Separately, to further commemorate the 54th ASEAN Day, the ASEAN Secretariat, in collaboration with ASEAN member states, is hosting the second edition of the  “ASEAN Online Sale Day” to connect e-marketplace companies to regional consumers. This event is part of ASEAN's efforts to rebuild consumer confidence, leveraging on digital technologies, towards a more robust recovery.

Besides, the celebration included the announcement of a new bursary initiative, “ASEAN-Maybank Scholarship,” supported by Maybank Foundation, a recently-accredited ASEAN Entity, in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat. The scholarship will be co-implemented by the ASEAN Foundation and the ASEAN University Network. Its call for application will begin in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN is organising a public webinar on August 11 focusing on health and economic recovery./.