ASEM 9 in Vientiane, Laos
In November Laos will host the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit. With the theme “Friends for Peace, Partners for Prosperity,” it will be an opportunity to showcase how Laos has become an important partner in the world community.
Vice President of the Lao Journalists’ Association Mr Somsanouk Mixay said the Summit is held every two years in Europe and Asia. This year it is Laos’ turn to host this important event and it is a great honor for the country as well as a challenge. There will be 48 delegations coming from Europe and Asia as well from institutions in Asean and the European Union. This is a good opportunity to show that Laos is able to hold such a meaningful event.
He added that Laos is used to partnering with other countries, especially European countries. In the past, Laos depended on Europe for assistance but this is no longer the case since Laos and Europe are equal partners. Laos will host this meeting as an equal partner with European and Asian nations, so it is very significant for the country.
At this point in time, ASEM countries in the continents of Europe and Asia face both challenges and opportunities, and will continue to do so. If these countries join forces and remain united, they will have the strength to bolster their impact on the global situation. ASEM will have sufficient weight to impact the directions taken by the world in terms of economics, politics, culture and the environment, which is why it is so important, Mr Somsanouk said.
The main challenge for all countries is the economy, as Europe is now engulfed in a major crisis. Europe can’t solve all the problems alone and needs help from other countries. European countries can also learn from the experience of Asia countries as their economies are booming. This is even the case in Laos, which has current economic growth of 8 percent.
Mr Somsanouk said Europe could learn from Laos. In the past, Asian countries learnt lessons from Europe, but now it is Europe that needs lessons in strength from Asia.
Four meetings will take place at the end of this year. Parliamentarians from Europe and Asia will meet in Vientiane, members of civil societies like nongovernmental organisations, the Asia Europe People’s Forum and businesspeople will gather for the Asia-Europe Business Forum. More importantly, all the decision makers including heads of state and the countries from the European Union and Asia will meet in Laos, and will have the opportunity to make decisions on many important issues. They will engage in dialogue and strengthening cooperation, which will be beneficial for all countries involved, he added.
A student in the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism at the National University of Laos, Mr New Panthavong, 23, said he thought the Summit would be a great chance for Laos to open up even more to the outside world, to share and learn experiences in the fields of economics, politics, social issues and education.
He viewed the Summit as an important part of cultural promotion, especially in education, saying Laos needs to learn some useful lessons for human resource development. He believed the Summit would focus on education since it is important for the development of Laos. Laos could also improve in other areas, such as information and technology.
In preparation for this highly significant meeting, the government has improved essential infrastructure so that guests are well provided for. This will enable Laos to not only be ready for the Summit, but for other similar events in the future.
Source: Vientiane Times
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