Some 80 international participants gathered in Phitsanulok on July 27, 2015 to attend the 2nd International Conference on ASEAN Affinity at the College of ASEAN Community Studies (CACS) within the Ekhathosarot Building on the campus ofNaresuan University, Thailand. Under the theme “People, Prosperity, Preservation”, the conference program offered altogether 11 panels, within the time from 10.00-18.00, covering economic, social, geographic, health, gender, development, political, and also regional issues, including a roundtable discussion on Myanmar – Prospects and Challenges.
To mention just some outstanding presentations and speakers that will be listed here in non-alphabetical order:
- Dr. Masato Abe (ESCAP, Bangkok): History and Progress of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which was officially launched in 2007 and will be fully in place on December 31, 2015.
- Dr. Paul Chambers (Chiang Mai University): Three Corridors of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) as the new realism in Mainland Southeast Asia, hinting on frictions between China and Japan, which will help make ASEAN much more unstable and the center of a new Cold War.
- Dr. Katsuyuki Takahashi (Naresuan University): The China Factor in the Japan-ASEAN Relations, talking about the Chinese threat to ASEAN, especially on the territorial issues in the South China Sea.
- Philip Jablon (U.S.A.): Reframing ASEAN’s Stand-Alone Movie Theaters in a Creative Economy context, actually inThailand, Myanmar and Laos.
- Bhawika Hikmat Prasetya (Naresuan University): Thai Angklung – Indonesian Angklung, being a traditional music instrument originally from Indonesia.
- Samart Thongfhua (Prince of Songkhla University, Pattani Campus): Potential of Pattani and ASEAN Economic Community, being a study of local leaders and government administrative in Pattani, Thailand.
- Irene Bel R. Plotena (Iloilo/Philippines): War memorials in Southern Iloilo Province, to serve as vehicle of transmitting the memories of war to the older and the present generations.
- Dr. Tynn Tynn San (Pediatrician): About Disabled Children in Myanmar.
- Duncan McArthur (Mae Sot): About Refugees from Myanmar.
- Khin Omar (Activist): About Human Rights Aspects in Myanmar.
All in all, the conference was very well-planned and organized by Dr. Napisa Waitoolkiat, Deputy Director of CACS,Naresuan University. Besides, it was up to Assistant Professor Piratorn Punyaratabandhu to hand out a Certificate of Participation to all the panelists during the Closing Ceremony. For a buffet dinner at the Topland Hotel in Phitsanulok, Professor Dr. Sujin Jinahyon, President of Naresuan University, generously invited.
On July 28, participants had the opportunity for a post-conference tour to Sukhothai, where the impressive SukhothaiHistorical Park was visited. There was a guided tour to see Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Sawai, King Ramkhamhaeng Memorial and Wat Si Chum.
Sukhothai is located along National Highway No.12 and connects to Phitsanulok and Khon Kaen in the east as well as Tak and Mae Sot in the west as part of the ambitious East-West Economic Corridor, which stretches from Da Nang in Viet Nam at the South China Sea to Mawlamyine in Myanmar at the Indian Ocean. From the local bus station in Sukhothai there are buses up to Chiang Mai for 228Baht, while a train ride from Chiang Mai down to Phitsanulok is 470Baht. For accommodation in Phitsanulok, the modern Wangchan Riverside (1,300Baht per room) is recommended or students can go to the Golden Place Guesthouse near the Naresuan University Campus, which offers rooms for 450Baht without breakfast.
Written by : Reinhard Hohler