The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Embassy of Malaysia in Manila co-hosted a special event on Digitalization in the 21st Century: Post 60 years of Philippines-Malaysia Relations on 05 September 2023 at the Embassy of Malaysia in Makati City.

The event aimed to explore the ways in which digital technology has transformed the lives and prospects of ASEAN people, specifically Filipino and Malaysian government officials.

The panelists include Dato’ Malik Melvin Castelino, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines; Mr. Gopi Ganesalingam, Senior Vice President/Head of Digital Export, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC); Mr. Paolo M. Salcedo, Head of Virtual Banking, Maybank Philippines; and Mr. Edwin Estrada, Head, Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS), Foreign Service Institute (FSI). Mr. Eugene Sumakwel T. Servigon, Foreign Affairs Research Specialist, CIRSS, FSI served as moderator of the discussion.

Ambassador Dato’ Malik Melvin Castelino highlighted the use of digital platforms to inform the people about what the government is doing, the changing nature of international relations, and how digital diplomacy is redefining foreign policy strategies through social media engagement, online campaigns and advocacy, and public diplomacy among others. Mr. Ganesalingam and Mr. Salcedo discussed the important role of the digital economy in leveraging technology for sustainable growth and prosperity, driving national development, and influencing the future of a progressive nation.  Mr. Estrada examined the opportunities and challenges of digitalization in cross-cultural exchanges and education. He mentioned that “embracing the full potential of digitalization entails not only harnessing its advantages but also devising effective strategies to mitigate its pitfalls, ensuring a more equitable and sustainable future”.

The event was attended by 47 Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) alumni, other government officials, and eight (8) representatives from the Philippine media.