The first ASEAN Youth Forum opened in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday with the participation of 36 representatives who are outstanding youths aged from 18 to 30 from seven Southeast Asian countries.
The participating nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The event aims to create chances for young people to enhance the mutual understanding of the history, culture, and social situations of regional countries, as well as to raise awareness and join hands in building an ASEAN community in unity and solidarity.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nguyen Manh Cuong, secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, expressed his hope that the 36 representatives will enjoy Vietnamese hospitality and have a better understanding of the spirit of friendship, cooperation, and integration as well as the culture of Vietnamese people.
He also expected that the forum participants will discuss effective solutions for increasing the youth’s role in preserving the traditional culture of the ASEAN family and following the spirit of “unity in diversity.”
A performance featuring the song “Hello Vietnam” at the forum’s opening ceremony. Photo: Tuoi Tre
After the ceremony, the forum started with a session with Doan Tuan Linh, deputy director of the municipal Department of External Relations, who provided an overview of the ASEAN community and Vietnam’s integration process.
Destania Ika Putri, 21, an Indonesian representative, said she was very excited and believed that she could learn much about the countries’ cultures as well as build many good relations.
She added that activities like the ASEAN Youth Forum are absolutely necessary because young Indonesians do not have much access to information on Southeast Asian countries.
“I have a special interest in society and culture so I will spend time talking about them during the main discussion,” she said.
The forum participants receive Vietnam’s traditional gifts. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Meanwhile, Bui Huu Hong Hai, who leads the Ho Chi Minh City delegation, said he was still eager when being chosen to attend the forum although he has participated in numerous international exchanges.
“I believe that other participants and I will learn many things from the knowledge shared by the international representatives,” he said. “Though we had a short time to prepare for the forum and I suffer much pressure being the leader of the delegation, we will try our best to promote Vietnamese culture and the image of dynamic young Vietnamese to international friends.”
Topics for discussion at the two-day forum include awareness of ASEAN cultural values, preserving and improving ASEAN cultural heritage, and spurring ASEAN creativity and culture.