ASEAN Prize Symposium 2024 convenes, fostering community building

VIENTIANE, 20 May 2024 – The ASEAN Prize Symposium 2024, a flagship programme in promoting the ASEAN Prize and its role in regional integration, was successfully concluded today in Vientiane, Lao PDR. 

The one-day event brought together the last three ASEAN Prize Recipients in a dynamic discussion platform, under the theme of “ASEAN Regional Integration – Journey of the ASEAN Prize Recipients”. The three recipients are Mekong Institute (2021), Muhamad Iqbal Damit (2022) and Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh (2023). They took this opportunity to showcase their exemplary contributions, sharing their journeys towards advancing ASEAN regional integration, highlighting their perspectives and exemplary efforts in promoting a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN Community.

Established in 2018, the ASEAN Prize is an annual regional premier award to acknowledge inspiring achievements of ASEAN citizens or ASEAN-based organisations that have made significant contributions to advancing ASEAN community-building efforts. Administered by the ASEAN Secretariat and catalysed by Temasek Foundation, the ASEAN Prize grants the award to the selected recipients with the ASEAN Prize trophy and monetary prize of USD 20,000. 

Madam Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, ASEAN Prize Recipient 2023, expressed, “Receiving the ASEAN Prize is a testament to the power of dedication and perseverance. My journey from a small town in Vietnam to becoming the first Vietnamese recipient of this prestigious award is a reflection of the incredible potential within each of us”. She added, “As we gather for the ASEAN Prize Symposium 2024, I hope my story inspires others to pursue their dreams with passion and resilience, believing that no obstacle is too great when driven by a commitment to positive change. The spirit of ASEAN Prize should be wider spread within the ASEAN
community through a group of ASEAN Prize Recipient to promote creativity and goodwill to build a people-oriented and people-centered sustainable ASEAN Community”.

Simultaneously, Mekong Institute (MI) Executive Director, Suriyan Vichitlekarn, described MI’s transformative journey and what it meant for the institute to be awarded with the ASEAN Prize. “Winning the ASEAN Prize in 2021 was a great honour…though MI’s real success is seen in the positive impact on the ground, showing that what we do matters to the communities and the people. The work of MI has been a collective effort, and we owe thanks to all who have supported its mission,” Suriyan revealed. 

Attended by over 100 participants from diverse backgrounds, the Symposium, which aims towards creating a heightened awareness of the ASEAN Prize and to facilitate the building of common understanding among ASEAN individuals and entities about their potentials and pivotal roles in shaping a robust regional community, rendered a credible platform for participants to gain insights from the ASEAN Prize Recipient’s achievements and advocacy.

ASEAN Prize Recipient 2022, Haji Muhamad Iqbal Fakhri bin Haji Damit, who was unable to attend the forum, shared how his journey on implementing youth-led initiatives won him the prestigious prize, through a message he shared to the participants. He stressed the importance of not only empowering the youth but to also give them the opportunity to lead. He said, “I don’t believe youth are the leaders of the future. They are the current leaders.”

Representing Lao PDR as ASEAN Chair 2024, the Director of Socio-Cultural for ASEAN Community of MOFA Lao PDR, Phetthanousone Phommalath, mentioned that “The forum is a very good opportunity for academics, organizations, youth and student organisations and the private sectors to take part in the discussion on the crucial roles in shaping a robust regional community building across multifaceted thematic landscape. Furthermore, this forum will also encourage all stakeholders, including my fellow citizens to take on more active and impactful roles in fostering the ASEAN spirit and advancing regional cooperation and integration efforts.”

The symposium featured the “ASEAN Prize Talks” session and through a breakout session, facilitated stakeholders to take on impactful roles in fostering the ASEAN spirit and advancing regional cooperation and integration efforts.

As the Administrator of the ASEAN Prize, the ASEAN Secretariat, represented by the Director for Community Affairs Directorate Lee Yoong Yoong highlighted, “As we embark on a year leading toward the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision, which envisions an enhanced ASEAN collective effort to realise an inclusive, participatory, and collaborative Community, the ASEAN Prize Symposium 2024 exemplifies the commitment of stakeholders. It further demonstrates an enhanced partnership, promoting a more integrated and vibrant ASEAN Community, and more importantly, it resonates with the spirit of achieving the shared goal of ASEAN’s visions.” Lee was also the moderator in interviewing the ASEAN Prize recipients.

The catalytic funder for ASEAN Prize, Temasek Foundation, represented by James Chan, Senior Director of Programmes, remarked, “In partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat, Temasek Foundation has been supporting the ASEAN Prize since its inception in 2018. To build a people-centric, inclusive and resilient ASEAN, we are committed to recognising and honouring outstanding individuals and organisations for their contributions. We hope the ASEAN Prize will continue to inspire more individuals and organisations to contribute towards ASEAN community building efforts collectively.”

The ASEAN Prize Symposium 2024 is co-organised by the ASEAN Secretariat and Mekong Institute, with the strong support of the Lao PDR’s 2024 ASEAN Chairmanship and the Temasek Foundation.

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