On Monday, June 7, the ASEAN Matters for America/ America Matters for ASEAN project was formally launched in Southeast Asia at the headquarters of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in Singapore. The project is a joint collaboration between the East-West Center in Washington and the ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) at ISEAS.
The East-West Center in Washington released the new initiative in Washington, D.C., on 2 April 2010, followed by the ASEAN segment of the launch at ISEAS in Singapore on 7 June, attended by representatives of the policy, academic and business communities in Singapore as well as ASEAN Ambassadors and Embassy representatives. A similar launch will be held in Jakarta at the ASEAN Secretariat later this month.
Unlike the European Union, there is as yet no single repository of data, information and analysis for Asia/ASEAN and the US. The ISEAS–East-West Center initiative hopes to fill this gap.
Speaking at the launch, ASEAN Studies Centre Head Rodolfo Severino outlined the mutual importance of linkages between ASEAN and the US in the political/strategic, economic and people-to-people spheres. While the linkages arise from shared values led by pragmatism and openness, Mr Severino observed that there is still more scope for cultivating more awareness. Initiatives such as “ASEAN Matters for America” are thus important.
Dr Satu Limaye, Director of the East-West Center Washington, shared details of the initiative and its parent, “Asia Matters for America” which covers a comprehensive scope spanning South and East Asia. He highlighted the increasing importance of Asia in American lives, and the impact of US-ASEAN and US-Asian relations at local levels. He shared interesting facts on how Asia (and ASEAN) impact different levels of government, business and society in the US.
Participants at the launch today had a lively discussion on the data and information shared by the project websites, which will be updated periodically. The “Asia Matters for America” website will be expanded to highlight specific information on US relations with Japan, Australia and India in the near future.