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The ASEAN Committee in Wellington, New Zealand hosts the ASEAN Day 2016 Symposium

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The Heads of Missions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee in Wellington (ACW), New Zealand, namely, H.E. Dato’ Lim Kim Eng, High Commissioner of Malaysia, H.E. Jesus S. Domingo, Ambassador of the Philippines, H.E. Bernard Baker, High Commissioner of Singapore, H.E. Maris Sangiampongsa, Ambassador of Thailand, H.E. Nguyen Viet Dung, Ambassador of Viet Nam, and Mr. Firdauzie Dwiandika, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of Indonesia, hosted the ASEAN Day 2016 Symposium to mark the 49th Anniversary of the Establishment of ASEAN or ASEAN Day on 08 August 2016 at the Hunter Council Chamber of Victoria University of Wellington.

The 2016 ASEAN Day Symposium with the theme “ASEAN-New Zealand Relations: Future Connectivity” brought together 120 representatives from NZ Government Agencies, Private Sector, Academe, University Students, and the Public to kick-start collaboration in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN in 2017. The focus of the symposium was the past, present and future of ASEAN’s relations with New Zealand.

The first part of the Symposium program was an Introduction to ASEAN by Professor Rob Rabel, former Pro Vice-Chancellor for International Engagement, followed by a Keynote Address from Ambassador Domingo, the current Chair of the ASEAN Committee in Wellington.

In his remarks, Ambassador Domingo stated that the peoples of the region of Southeast Asia celebrate the founding of ASEAN each year on 8 August to promote greater awareness, consciousness, and understanding of ASEAN among the regions peoples and communities in line with ASEAN’s efforts to build a strong, credible, and people-centred ASEAN and to realize a shared vision of an ASEAN Community. His Keynote Address focused on the role of ASEAN Committees in non-ASEAN countries, ASEAN-New Zealand relations and the existing mechanisms within the relations as well as a look ahead for what’s in store for the future of ASEAN’s relations with New Zealand and what the Philippines has in store for its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2017.

The well-attended Symposium brought together a group of experts who spoke on their knowledge of ASEAN and its relations with New Zealand. Dr. Kate McMillan, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Victoria University of Wellington, spoke on the people-to-people links between ASEAN and New Zealand culled from her recent research entitled “Relations and Relationships: 40 years of people movements from ASEAN countries to New Zealand”.

Ms. Alison Mann, the Divisional Manager of the Asia-Pacific Regional Integration Division (APD) and the New Zealand ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS) Senior Official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), delved into the topic of ASEAN-New Zealand Relations. On the topic of ASEAN and Asia-Pacific Security Dynamics, Professor David Capie, Associate Professor in International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington, delivered substantive assessment of the security dynamics in the region. The Future of ASEAN-New Zealand Relations was discussed by Ms. Pip McLachlan, Director for Engagement and Research of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The presentations were followed by an Open Forum which was moderated by Dr. Farib Sos, Executive Director of Asia Forum. At the end of the Symposium, Ambassador Domingo and the ACW Ambassadors played host to the Symposium’s guests at a reception held at the Common Room of the Hunter Council Chamber at Victoria University of Wellington.

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