One Identity, Multi Traits: 50 Years of ASEAN celebrated in Olten

In 1967, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded. Students of the FHNW School of Business invited representatives of the organisation to the FHNW campus in Olten to celebrate 50 years of ASEAN. 

For 50 years, South East Asian states have been cooperating under the umbrella of ASEAN. The organisation was originally founded in 1967 by Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore amid the Cold War, aiming at strengthening a region located in a geopolitical hotspot. Since then, ASEAN has grown to include Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam, and has intensified political, cultural and economic exchange and collaboration between the South East Asian nations and the rest of the world.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN, H.E. Joselito A. Jimeno, Ambassador of the Philippines, H.E. Linggawaty Hakim, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Hai Bang Pham, Ambassador of Vietnam, Ms Sutthathip Vathiphund, Embassy of Thailand, and Ms Deborah Tan Sue-Yuen, Embassy of Malaysia came to the FHNW campus in Olten. The event was organised by the International Student Project Explore ASEAN of the FHNW School of Business.

From left to right: Ms Sutthathip Vathiphund, Ms Deborah Tan Sue-Yuen, H.E. Linggawaty Hakim, H.E. Joselito A. Jimeno, H.E. Hai Bang Pham (photo: Florian Schönmann).

In his welcome note, H.E. Joselito A. Jimeno emphasised the development of the ASEAN region, which today boasts a combined GDP of 2.5 trillion USD and a market of 630 million people. Under the headline „One Identity, Multi Traits“, he described ASEAN as an organisation of diverse, but united nations that together strive for economic prosperity and political stability.

Panel Discussion and Cultural Exchange

The lively and inspiring panel discussion, moderated by Prof. Dr. Markus Freiburghaus of the FHNW School of Business, gave the five high-ranking representatives of ASEAN members the opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges of their collaboration in the region and to outline their goals for the future. They especially encouraged Swiss SMEs to invest in the region and called for an intensified knowledge transfer between Switzerland and the countries of ASEAN.

Prof. Dr. Crispino Bergamaschi welcomed the distinguished guests (photo: Simon Drabert).

In his welcome address, Prof. Dr. Crispino Bergamaschi, President of FHNW, also emphasised the importance of internationalisation of higher education and highlighted the leading role of FHNW in the academic collaboration between Switzerland and South East Asia.

Concluding this memorable event, Samuel Kunz performed traditional Swiss Alphorn music. Afterwards, the participants enjoyed South East Asian delicacies, courtesy of the present diplomatic representatives.

Further information:

Website explore ASEAN


Dr. Teresa Freiburghaus


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