The mission to promote cooperation and integration to enhance development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) has always been at the core of the Mekong Institute (MI). Even though the economic growth of the GMS is progressing, conflict management still remains a key element in enabling smooth and continuous cooperation throughout the region and beyond. 

In this regard, MI welcomed 85 guests from King Prajadhipok Institute (KPI) on 18 October, 2012, and discussed major issues concerning the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), including conflict management. 

The guests included participants attending the Program on Basic Concepts Regarding Conflict Management in Public Policy by Peaceful Means provided by KPI. 

Dr. Vanchai Vatanasapt, first MI director and current KPI director, mentioned in his speech that MI (a product of his initiative and that of the New Zealand Embassy) was based on the desire to create and promote GMS spirit, understanding, friendship, trust, and cooperation. 

Before we, the GMS countries, can cooperate, Dr. Vanchai explained, trust must first be created. This is the reason why MI was built – it was built to be a learning center that will later encourage cooperation in the GMS. 

Dr. Vanchai recommended that regional institutions such as MI should put more importance on training and informing GMS nationals on their shared cultural heritage to further bring people together. 

Although relationships and partnerships continue to strengthen between countries in the region, basic knowledge on conflict management can still help professionals of all sectors think in broader terms and improve their negotiation skills to prevent or even ease conflicts of different magnitudes by safe and peaceful means.

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