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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The 3rd AFMAM 2017 Depicts the Dynamic of ASEAN Decision Making Process

A bright light is projected from the 40 inch flat TV screen in one of the rooms at The Verdure Hall, Henry Sy. Building, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines on Thursday (28/9). Over 20 people in that room are busy looking at the giant screen as well as looking at each of their own laptop’s screen. Voices and whispers suddenly filled up the room when Pa Sokheng, the university student from Cambodia raised her dissenting opinion towards the phrase “and be open to new research institutes” as the group tried to reach consensus on the text of a draft statement by ‘senior environment officials’ of ASEAN.

Pa Sokheng who plays the role of Vietnamese senior official is one among 77 delegates of the Third ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting (AFMAM) 2017 that simulated the Model ASEAN Meeting. She and the other ASEAN university students have the opportunity to role playing senior officials of ASEAN which discus and negotiate the topic of “Anticipating Environmental Displacement of People in ASEAN due to Global Climate Change”. The talented delegates also give recommendations to ASEAN Member States on how to anticipate the impact of global climate change on people displacement in the region.

The Third AFMAM which conducted from 25 September to 30 September 2017 follows two successful AFMAM in the past two years and is part of the series of commemorative events to celebrate ASEAN 50th in the Philippines. AFMAM is an interactive initiative to better understand the ASEAN decision-making processes and mechanisms by simulating major annual ASEAN Meetings to experience how ASEAN senior officials function at ASEAN meetings.

“This is my first experience joining ASEAN youth event, so far I really enjoy it as I have a chance to expand my ASEAN knowledge. And this year AFMAM’s theme is very important for us, the Filipinos. We experienced challenges regarding environmental displacement of people caused by global climate change. I believe my participation in this event will help me to know more about ASEAN mechanisms and how does it work plus this simulation certainly will improve my negotiation, diplomacy and influencing skills,” said Neil Joseph Lisondra Esperanza, an engineering undergraduate student of Ateneo de Davao University and The Philippines AFMAM 2017 delegate.

The total of 88 undergraduate students and university academic members were selected from over 30 different universities across ASEAN to participate in the event. They formed 10 groups representing 10 ASEAN Member States in which each group is made up of seven university students and one group advisor. One team of seven students and an advisor who are AFMAM 2016 alumni will role play the ASEAN Secretariat. AFMAM student delegates are between the age of 18 to 25, and for the advisor besides being older than 25 years old, they are also required to be an academic member of the university. AFMAM participants are also assigned different nationalities to allow the opportunity to have different perspective about another ASEAN Member State. It allows participating students to better understand decisions that their national governments make as well as to understand how those decisions affect policies at national and regional levels.

The Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, Elaine Tan, underscored the significant role of the Model ASEAN Meeting in contributing to raising the ASEAN awareness among young people particularly university students while at the same time it allows them to improve their public speaking, research, and negotiation skills as well as provides them a better understanding of the benefits of ASEAN.

The Third AFMAM 2017 is successfully organised by ASEAN Foundation in partnership with ASEAN – U.S. PROGRESS, United Kingdom, Government of Canada, Government of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Banapple Pies & Cheesecakes, KBZ Brighter Future Myanmar, League of Corporate Foundations Philippines, Maybank Foundation and Zalora Philippines.

Find out more about the 3rd AFMAM 2017:

When Young People Take Over ASEAN

Success and Succession: ASEAN Veteran Passes the Torch

ASEAN’s youth dividend to boost growth, investments

3rd ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting Opens