Panel Discussion Held in Malaysia under the Title: "Cultural Diplomacy: Searching for ASEAN Common Values

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Inaugural Event on the IDFR Cultural Diplomacy Lecture Series

April 09th, 2016

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The Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) in Malaysia organized, on the 5th of April, from 9.00 am to 12.00 pm at the Auditorium of the IDFR, the inaugural event of its first Cultural Diplomacy Lecture Series under the name of "Cultural Diplomacy: Searching for ASEAN Common Values".

The event counted with over 150 guests including representatives of different NGOs, agencies or ministries, educational institutions, diplomatic corps or think tanks. In this panel discussion, the speakers included: H. E. Ambassador Dato’ Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, Associate Professor Dr. Farish A. Noor, Ms. Ng Yeen Seen and Datuk Kenneth Luis and was moderated by Mr. Mohd Suhaimi Jaafar, Deputy Director General of the ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia.

This panel discussion sought to discuss about the role of the cultural diplomacy in brining cultures together or strenthening the interaction between them, transcending many boundaries such as national or cultural ones. The aim was to discuss and identify common values within ASEAN to help foster more intense dialogue and joint work to develop a stronger integration, towards realizing the third pillar of the recently created ASEAN Community.

The former Malaysian Ambassador to China, Amb. Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan said that "We need to share our cultural experiences, such as the picture of a bundle of paddy on the ASEAN logo, which shows the exact similarities of all members of ASEAN countries"

Dr. Farish A. Noor Professor clarify that in order to find these values, we must look at the pre-modern and pre-colonial era where communities in Southeast Asia interacted together because of the trade, migration and marriage. He added that states can not share territory, but people are able to share a common culture.

However Ng Teen Seen said the search for common values of ASEAN are summarized in three main approaches: tourism, education and culture. Through these three approaches ASEAN countries will find more facilities to be compatible in a much more solid and strong way.

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