Opinion: ASEAN cooperation

Web.HCYU: As an effort to promote ASEAN Awareness among Vietnamese youths, this week we invite Hong Ngoc Nguyen of the University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University Hanoi, to write us a column on “How to strengthen cooperation among ASEAN countries?”

There is not much time left until 2015 when ASEAN aims at a truly “community”, which has been clearly stated in the motto of the area “One vision, one identity, one community”. This vision refers to a region of peaceful co-existence amidst, a brighter and more secure future for the peoples of South East Asia. Certainly, this only comes true if all ASEAN countries can cooperate strongly and effectively. From the perspective of an Asean youngster, I am totally convinced of the idea that every single person can contribute to upgrade the current cooperation among ASEAN countries to a whole different level for a brighter future of the community. 

(Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended and delivered a speech welcoming the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth VII in Hanoi 2011)

First and foremost, there should be more summits among the leaders of ten ASEAN countries. During these meetings, all the leaders have to work together to come up with some practical strategies to solve any existing problems in the area. Every economic issue should be considered meticulously since ASEAN countries have also been affected by the status of global economic crisis. Besides, some other crucial aspects such as politics, environment, education and culture should not be taken for granted. Among them, education is seen the most striking feature. Only good education can create exemplary citizens, who will greatly devote to the development of the society. All actions plans in those summits must have specific timelines and orientations so that there will be no hesitation when they are applied in reality.

Secondly, it is essential to have a lingua franca (a common language) among ten ASEAN countries. With the development of technology, the world has become much smaller. People’ desire of connection and communication is undeniable. Thus, only a common language could guarantee a strong cooperation in the area. In this situation, the best choice is English – a global language of economics, politics and culture. As a result, teaching and learning English should be a priority in the long-term plans of any ASEAN countries.

Last but not least, I would like to emphasize the role of youngsters in the future of ASEAN community. Youngsters are the backbone of any nations; they take the responsibility to change the future of the society with their well being and courageous behaviors. Moreover, youth participation in social activities is bringing about various benefits to not only youngsters themselves but also the whole society. Through social activities, youngsters give their hand to partly solve many problems which one country has to suffer from such as: pollution, high unemployment rate, culture degradation, limited education standards, and social evils. Consequently, the future cooperation among ASEAN countries will largely rely on the solidarity of ASEAN youngsters. More youth camps, international forums, and exchange programs should be held to create opportunities for the youngsters to reunite and build up their promising relationships.

In conclusion, although the question of how to strengthen cooperation among ASEAN countries has never been easy to answer, we are still sharing common beliefs and determination. Without any doubt, this fact will be the shortcut to a very glorious future of our ASEAN community. 


Nguyen Hong Ngoc