ASEAN celebrates 54th anniversary


JAKARTA — Today, ASEAN marks its 54th anniversary. As the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the observation and commemoration of this year’s ASEAN Day were once again held online. The message of this year’s anniversary highlights Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chair 2021 theme – ‘’We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper.’’

The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dato Lim Jock Hoi, opened the online ceremony with his welcome remarks, where he highlighted that “ASEAN has taken the opportunity to consolidate and become a more inclusive and resilient community since the strike of the COVID19 pandemic in ASEAN in March 2020.” He noticed that as compared to last year, “there is now more comprehensive public information about the virus.” Dato Lim reiterated the need for ASEAN to work towards long-term resilience in a post-pandemic world by accelerating inclusive digital transformation and achieving sustainability in the region across all sectors, including in investment, agriculture, financing, infrastructure, energy, and disaster management.

In her keynote address, Foreign Minister for the Republic of Indonesia Retno Marsudi urged ASEAN Member States to assume an active role in shaping regional dynamics and promote the principle and values enshrined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific region. “The pandemic is hardly our only challenge, regional peace and stability also demand our attention. Great power rivalries show no signs of diminishing anytime soon and have the potential to sow division among us. Rather than being a pawn in this new Cold War, ASEAN must be at the driving seat in shaping regional dynamics,’’ she said.

The online celebration was streamed on ASEAN’s social media channels. Along with the official speeches, heads or representatives of ASEAN Centres and Facilities conveyed their good wishes to ASEAN.

In parallel to the ASEAN Gallery’s 20th anniversary, the online celebration featured the launch of August Gathering, a commemorative coffee table book of the gallery’s artworks by Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN Lim Sungnam.

Separately, to further commemorate the 54th ASEAN Day, the ASEAN Secretariat, in collaboration with the ASEAN Member States, is hosting the second edition of the  “ASEAN Online Sale Day” ( to connect e-marketplace companies to regional consumers. This event is part of ASEAN efforts to rebuild consumer confidence, leveraging on digital technologies, towards a more robust recovery.

The video also featured testimonies from students with autism from the Jakarta-based London School Beyond Academy (LSBA).  These students had their three-month internship at the ASEAN Secretariat shortened due to the occurrence of the pandemic last year.

Further, today’s celebration included the announcement of a new bursary initiative, “ASEAN-Maybank Scholarship,” supported by Maybank Foundation, a recently-accredited ASEAN Entity, in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat. The scholarship will be co-implemented with ASEAN Foundation and the ASEAN University Network. Its call for application will begin in 2022.

Meanwhile, the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN is organizing a public webinar on 11 August focusing on health and economic recovery. (ASEAN)