A sophomore student, laixen, and a freshman student, Shwin Lei, were selected to participate in The ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting Plus Japan 2023 (AFMAM Plus Japan 2023) in Jakarta, Indonesia, which is the headquarters of ASEAN and a major regional hub. The event is designed to promote understanding and cooperation between ASEAN and Japan, to develop the leadership, negotiation, and public speaking skills of the next generation of leaders, and to raise the youths’ voices in ASEAN.
The event 2023 theme was "Advancing the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and Enhancing ASEAN Diplomacy within ASEAN and Japan," which reflects the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region and the need for closer cooperation between ASEAN and Japan. It covered a wide range of activities, such as cultural activities, presentations by experts, and networking. Participants had a chance to role-play as senior officials from ASEAN and Japan by taking responsibility for each community, such as the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, and negotiating on a variety of issues.
It is an annual event, and 2023 is the 50th year for the relationship between Japan and ASEAN that brings together young leaders from ASEAN and Japan to simulate the ASEAN and Japan Plus meetings. The event brought together 72 young leaders from ASEAN and Japan with educational backgrounds such as sociology, policy, and education.
Shwin Lei is a Parami freshman student from Mandalay Learning Hub. She is also a member of the Voice Acting Club and Environmental Club and works as a research mentor at a local organization. Shwin Lei expressed that she has a great interest in specializing in human rights and the democratization process in Southeast Asia and diplomacy, and joining the event allows her to explore more about the topic of her interests, including different cultures.
“In today's interconnected world, being able to engage with others from different backgrounds diplomatically is invaluable. Diplomacy is the peaceful way to gain achievement without causing conflicts. The AFMAM plus Japan allowed me to interact with students from diverse countries and to learn about perspectives outside my own. Also, every nation practice culture as a tool to implement public diplomacy. I learned about Japan and ASEAN through immersive educational and social activities. One of the most important lessons I learned from AFMAM plus Japan is the significance of listening with an open and curious mindset when discussing regional issues. Through discussions and activities with students from many different backgrounds, I understood that we must accept and speak different perspectives and actively listen without judgment.” said Shwin Lei.
Our sophomore student, laixen, is a leader of the LAPC club and has a great interest in educational administration and playing the needed role in the educational sector.
laixen reflected on his experience joining the event: “I believe encouraging international actors to collaborate in the education area is beneficial; therefore, I try to express myself not just as a senior student at Parami University but also as an educator who is committed to ethnic minority education in Burma. As culturally related and politically vulnerable countries, I want to learn how these communities are handling similar challenges with contextualized approaches and how we may work together to create more inclusive educational institutions.”
During the event, the students had a great opportunity to participate in a role-play activity. laixen acted as Chairman of the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community (ASCC) senior official and Senior Official of Indonesia while Shwin took a role as senior official for Thailand at the ASEAN Economic Community.