Int’l relations expert Acharya speaks on ASEAN

When analyzing the ASEAN and the implications of being a member-state, many are quick to talk about the economic interplay between the Philippines and other countries. However, in its inception, the ASEAN was something more akin to the United Nations for Southeast Asia, rather than the European Union. The ASEAN had greatly contributed to keeping the peace in the region, which has gone unbroken since 1967 when the organization was founded. Just recently at New World Makati, international relations expert Dr. AmitavAcharya was on-hand to speak to the public and to peers about what ASEAN integration bodes for the Philippines and its partners.

During the day-long talk held by First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA)—the country’s first dedicated corporate university—and in partnership with AIM, Acharya started off by having a one-on-one discussion on stage with Prof. Federico Macaranas, former undersecretary of economic affairs under then President Ramos. Speaking at length about the ASEAN as a coalition of differing cultures, languages, and religions, bound together geographically, Acharya then segued into the topic of the interactions between members-states.

Regarding the dynamics of nation superpowers and the progress ASEAN has achieved through the years, Acharya had this to say: “Overall, the nations and peoples of Southeast Asia have much to be proud of in ASEAN. But a community is much more than an association, where one can buy a membership and enjoy its benefits and facilities. A community requires greater levels of trust, cohesion and above all a collective identity. ASEAN needs to work much harder to reach the stage of a true community.”

During the second half of the symposium, Acharya joined a panel of experts, with the participants coming from a wide range of specialties, such asAtty. Marilyn A. Victorio-Aquino is Assistant Director at First Pacific Company Limited (FPCL), Atty. Michael Toledo, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs of Philex Mining Corporation and the head of MVP Group of Companies Media Bureau, Noel Torres, member of the First Pacific group’s Corporate Development Unit, Atty. PilarNenuca P. Almira, President and CEO of Cardinal Santos Memorial Center, Ambassador Delia Albert, Julio Amador III is Assistant Director of the Foreign Service Institute, and Rev. Fr. Emmanuel “Nono” Alfonso, Secretary for Media and Social Communications of the Jesuit Conference in Asia and the Pacific. Professor Charmaine G. Misalucha, of International Studies at De La Salle University, moderated the panel discussion. The panelists deliberated the benefits and possible ramifications the Philippines faced as a member of the ASEAN, across a myriad of sectors and industries, including medical, agricultural, financial, and energy.

Understanding ASEAN with Prof. AmitavAcharya was the latest in FPLA’s series of Executive Talks, where thought leaders discuss their experiences of being at the forefront of their respective industries. Former speakers in this series included eminent physicist MichioKaku, AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman Rani, and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

For more information on FPLA, and their Executive Talks, please visit

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