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Thursday, 14 June 2018

An impressive glimpse of ASEAN: ASEAN foundation interns were warmly welcomed at the ASEAN Secretariat for the briefing

by Pachara Aungsusuknarumol

At the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, five interns from the ASEAN foundation, together with ASEAN new permanent staff, joined the ASEAN briefing. Throughout five comprehensive presentations including the ASEAN community building, external relations, and the three ASEAN pillars, the interns were equipped with essential background knowledge and updates on ASEAN vision in full details.

Mr. Lee Yoong Yoong, the Director of Community Affairs Directorate, explained the rationale behind this briefing that, “the purpose why I initiated this briefing was because I feel that it is our duty to share with the interns and the new staff of our sister agencies and other Jakarta-based ASEAN centers about what we deem to be on the current status of ASEAN community building,” he added, “this [briefing] will help you, the young people, to assimilate to what we call ‘the ASEAN context’ right away.”

Mr. Lee also highlighted the importance of including the younger generation, saying, “whether you are here to work for ASEAN either for a short-term or a long-term basis, the fact of the matter is ASEAN does matter,” Mr. Lee further explained, “there is no better way to disseminate information through the youth which is the key stakeholder of ASEAN future.”

On the other end, young passionate interns of the ASEAN foundation found this opportunity to be very eye-opening and useful for their internship journey ahead. Hanna Wdzieczak, a programme unit intern from the Yale-NUS College, revealed that, “in order to perform my duties effectively I need to be aware of the structure and work of the ASEAN Secretariat, and today’s briefing enhanced my knowledge about these aspects.” Her colleague from the University of Malaya, Menghu Xia, was also impressed that the briefing has contributed up-to-date information which complemented to his study. “As an ASEAN major student, I was exposed to many theories and articles. However, the information we got is a bit left behind. The ASEAN Secretariat as the main intergovernmental institution has interestingly refreshed my knowledge about what is going on right now,” said Menghu.

Meanwhile, Regina Ng, a programme unit intern from the Yale-NUS College, has revealed her key takeaways, saying, “what stuck with me was the 3-C Challenges that remain for ASEAN as elucidated by Mr. Lee: ‘Cohesiveness, Centrality, and Connectivity’. These very succinctly and aptly encapsulated ASEAN’s continuous challenge of maintaining unity and joint progress in a region of diversity.” While Do Youn Lee, a programme unit intern from the Yale-NUS College, also excited to learn the response she got after raising an interesting question. “When I asked whether there is a possibility of ASEAN expanding its dialogue partners to include countries in regions such as South America and Africa, the speaker comprehensively explained how the dialogue partners are determined and that ASEAN is open to working with any country that is also willing,” said Do Youn.

The ASEAN foundation and other ASEAN bodies are currently opening for internship opportunities. Young people who are currently enrolled in a university degree are encouraged to apply. Mr. Lee has also commented on the internship programmes that, “I think this is a good place or hub for one to get to know ASEAN better, and I strongly encourage all of you to write in. We will try our best to engage as many interns as possible.”

For more information about the ASEAN foundation Internship programme, please visit http://www.aseanfoundation.org/what-we-do/internship-programme

Pachara Aungsusuknarumol, a graduate of Communication Management programme at Chulalongkorn University and a communication intern at the ASEAN Foundation.

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