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Thursday, 9 March 2017

CSOs in ASEAN gather for the first SRE-ASEAN Community Forum

Singapore (09/03) – The first ‘S. Rajaratnam Endowment - ASEAN Community’ Forum’ (SRE-ASEAN Community Forum) kicked off this morning, Monday (09/03) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) involving around 42 prominent Civil Society Organisations (CSO) representatives from all ten ASEAN Member States. The two-day forum serves as an avenue for CSOs across the region to discuss ASEAN issues around (1) Rural Development, (2) Women’s Economic Development, and (3) Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as foster collaboration and networking with each other that contributes concretely to improving the well-being of the ASEAN peoples, as outlined through ASEAN’s key issues and blueprints.

Organised by the ASEAN Foundation, in partnership with Temasek Foundation Connects, which oversees the S Rajaratnam Endowment, the forum gives CSO participants an opportunity to hear views from the Chair of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (SOMRDPE), H.E. Mr. Sao Chivoan; lead researcher from the Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak, Ms. Sanchita Basu-Das and the Director of the Human Development Directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat, Ms. Rodora Babaran on progress on implementing the ASEAN Community Blueprints since the launch of the ASEAN Community in 2015. The presenters will also introduce ASEAN processes and mechanisms to highlight how CSOs can engage with ASEAN to support a people-centered and people-oriented ASEAN Community.

The subsequent breakout discussions on each of the three thematic topics will allow the CSO participants to actively discuss how ASEAN’s priorities as reflected in the ASEAN Blueprints 2025 will impact on the well-being of ASEAN’s people, the challenges on ASEAN integration and how they can be addressed. The CSOs are expected to explore regional collaboration to support the realisation of the ASEAN Community 2025.

“As an ASEAN body, the ASEAN Foundation has been mandated to perform as a platform to forge more people-to-people engagement outside the circle of the inter-governmental institution. This initiative is a strategic approach to embrace CSOs to deepen their understanding and knowledge about the ASEAN Blueprints 2025 and explore how their roles can contribute to supporting the ASEAN Community building efforts,” says Elaine Tan, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation.

She further highlighted that the Foundation aims to further its collaboration and dialogue with CSOs and other stakeholders toward building a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN. She expects that the first SRE-ASEAN Community Forum will inspire more joint initiatives from CSOs in addressing poverty eradication and enhancing the quality of lives of the people.

In supporting the SRE – ASEAN Community Forum, the Chief Executive of Temasek Foundation Connects, Mr Lim Hock Chuan, says, “Mr S Rajaratnam was a firm believer in regional cooperation and he had played an active role to entrench ASEAN at the core of the broader regional political architecture. This Forum would serve as a platform for key stakeholders to engage one another, forge stronger people-to-people engagement, contribute to the well-being of the ASEAN peoples and work towards a shared ASEAN identity.”

The ‘S. Rajaratnam Endowment - ASEAN Community’ Forums will be organised thrice within the period of March 2017 – April 2018. All three forums aim to serve as an effective and innovative platform to promote people’s participation and commitment at the community level to support the realisation of the ASEAN Community 2025.

Contacts for the media:
● Masayu Yulien Vinanda, Communications and Marketing Manager of the ASEAN Foundation, email:

Notes to Editor
About ASEAN Foundation

Three decades after ASEAN was established, ASEAN leaders recognized that: there remained inadequate shared prosperity, ASEAN awareness and contact among people of ASEAN. It was of this concern that ASEAN leaders established ASEAN Foundation during ASEAN’s 30th Anniversary Summit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 15 December 1997, ASEAN Foundation is an organisation from and for the people of ASEAN. The Foundation exists because of one vision: to build a cohesive and prosperous ASEAN Community. As an ASEAN’s body, the Foundation is tasked to support ASEAN mainly in promoting awareness, identity, interaction and development of the people of ASEAN. For more information, visit:

About Temasek Foundation Connects and S Rajaratnam Endowment
Temasek Foundation Connects is a Singapore-based non-profit philanthropic organisation that funds and supports programmes, which seek to build bridges and partnerships, and promote dialogue and mutual understanding across international communities and markets. Established in 2016, it aims to foster cooperation and growth in a globalised and interconnected world of opportunities.

The Foundation’s programmes promote dialogue, and advance collective knowledge and mutual understanding in key areas that are important to Singapore and on a global front. These include various issues such as security, geopolitics and economic imperatives of emerging markets, as well as best practices in areas such as corporate governance and stewardship. The Foundation provides oversight to two endowments – the S Rajaratnam Endowment and the Hon Sui Sen Endowment.

Temasek Foundation Connects is a member of the Temasek Philanthropic Platform, which was established by Temasek to better serve the evolving needs of the wider community, reinforcing its approach to sustainable giving. Since its inception in 1974, Temasek has established 17 endowments, which focus on building people, building communities, building capabilities and rebuilding lives.

For more information on the Temasek Philanthropic Platform, please visit

For more information on Temasek Foundation Connects, please visit

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