By John Okeke
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and friends gathered in Abuja yesterday to marks its 51st anniversary.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), established in 1967, is a regional grouping comprising 10 countries in the southeast Asian region, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
At the early stages, ASEAN was established as a platform to reduce regional hostilities and to fight the potential threat of communist-led insurgencies in the region. Today, ASEAN proved itself as a successful inter-governmental organization in the developing world.
ASEAN has grown into a community that mutually seeks to accelerate regional economic growth, foster social progress and promote socio-cultural cooperation and harmony, protect and maintain regional peace and stability, and encourage the peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts.
Through initiatives undertaken by ASEAN and its partners, the southeast Asian region has overcome conflicts and tensions and, despite the ethnic and religious diversity of the region, has embraced moderation, tolerance and understanding. ASEAN has also transformed southeast Asia into a region of resilient economic growth and sustainable development and may perhaps eventually help shape the political, economic and security architecture in the broader Asia Pacific region.
As ASEAN is celebrating its 51st anniversary this year, the ASEAN Committee in Abuja (ACA) which comprises five ASEAN diplomatic missions in Abuja (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) is organised the commemoration ceremony which started on 8 August 2018 at the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines.
Apart from commemorating the 51st anniversary of ASEAN, the ceremony would also promote awareness and information about the regional grouping to the Nigerian masses.
Among the those that graced the occasion are His Excellency Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Guest of Honor, governments officials, diplomatic corps, industry players and members of the media.
As part of the celebration, the ACA is also organising the 3rd ASEAN Film Festival in Nigeria 2018, which will be officially opened on the same day (8 August 2018) at the same venue.
The film festival seeks to promote greater awareness about the peoples and cultures within ASEAN as well as to strengthen bridges of friendship and understanding between the peoples of ASEAN and the peoples of Nigeria.