The First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA), in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and the FSI, held the Executive Talk Series with Prof. Amitav Acharya entitled, “Understanding ASEAN: Power-seeking, Money-making, or Community-building?” last 3 October 2014 at the New World Hotel, Makati City. Prof. Acharya is a leading expert in ASEAN studies and international relations.
The project was organized to address the lack of awareness of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the upcoming ASEAN Community 2015. It aimed to bridge this knowledge deficit, particularly in the business sector, about the issue as well as address their concerns on ASEAN integration.
Prof. Acharya gave an overview of ASEAN, emphasizing that the primary driving force of the region is attaining a prosperous and sustainable economy. He pointed out that political and security issues must not be put on the sidelines as these remain a challenge to the region and can affect economic growth. Hence, it is crucial for ASEAN member states to stay united, for it is with unity that lasting peace, stability, and prosperity may be guaranteed.
In order for ASEAN to address the problem of low ASEAN-awareness among its people, Prof. Acharya discussed the need to use a bottom-up approach. This means that the civil society and the youth must be engaged in discussions on issues affecting the region. Likewise, Prof. Acharya stressed the need for ASEAN member states to invest in research and development.
Assistant Director Julio Amador III, one of the forum’s dialogue leaders, gave an overview of the ASEAN Economic Community underlining its four pillars. In his discussion, Mr. Amador encouraged the business sector to view ASEAN integration as an opportunity to open up to a larger market. Accordingly, he emphasized that it is important that the country formulate competitive policies, prioritize educating and training the work force, and develop venues for dialogue between the government and the private sector.
The talk was attended by representatives from the business sector, government agencies, and the academe.