What is ASEAN?
ASEAN is the acronym for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. This organization was established in Bangkok, Thailand on August 8, 1967. Originally, there were only five countries that are a part of this organization, namely, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. In 1984, Brunei joined these five nations, while Vietnam became a member in 1995. In 1997, Myanmar and Laos also became a part of this organization, and in 1999 Cambodia joined the ASEAN.
This organization was established in order to promote the region’s mutual interests, such as the development in terms of economic growth, as well as the cultural and social aspects. Furthermore, the ASEAN was founded with the aim to maintain stability and peace in the region. In order to achieve these goals, the leaders of the organization established the ASEAN Security, ASEAN Socio-cultural Community, and ASEAN Economic Community in 2003.
In the present times, the primary goal of the organization in relation to economic growth is to transform the region into a competitive and influential force in the global market. According to the ASEAN, this can be attained by setting up an ASEAN Free Trade Area. This ASEAN Free Trade Area can result in economic productivity by making sure that the tariff and other barriers between the members of the organization are abolished.
In terms of cross-cultural understanding, the ASEAN promotes unity among the member countries through the different social and educational programs. Some of these programs include ASEAN University Network, ASEAN Work Programme for HIV and AIDS, ASEAN Students Exchange Programme, ASEAN Occupational Safety and Health Network, ASEAN Young Speakers Forum, and Youth Cultural Forum.
Lastly, it can be said that the organization has been successful in upholding peace and stability, because since the time it was established, there have been no armed confrontations between the members despite of disagreements regarding marine and land borders.