Dr Khine MYE, Director General of the Department of Alternative Education of the Ministry of Education of Myanmar speaks to ASEF about his views on youth engagement in promoting Asia-Europe exchanges.
How does a project like the 8th Model ASEM contribute to bringing Asian and European students closer together, and how do local Myanmar students benefit from participating in the project?
Undeniably, the 8th Model ASEM brings Asian and European students closer together. The project is therefore a great opportunity for Myanmar and other youth to gain new friends and to get first-hand exposure to and exchange opinions with students from geographically, academically and culturally different backgrounds. At the 8th Model ASEM students will participate in in-depth political, economic and socio-cultural dialogues about Asia and Europe. All these activities foster understanding for future Asia–Europe collaborations and the ASEM Process. The Ministry of Education of Myanmar ultimately hopes to engage the youth of Myanmar in the ASEM Process so that these can together with peers from all the 51 ASEM Partner countries share their experiences and propose their visions for fruitful and long-lasting ASEM collaborations.
The 8th Model ASEM is based on a “learning by doing” approach – e.g. through independent research, practical training and face-to-face encounters. How important does the MOE consider similar such extra-curricular activities to be, considering students’ required skills for future employment?
It is definitely true that the “learning by doing” approach can offer abundant and valuable experiences to youth. Undoubtedly, the Ministry of Education of Myanmar is deeply convinced of the importance of extra-curricular activities such as independent research, practical training and face-to-face encounters. Through the 8th Model ASEM’s Online Preparatory Phase and conference, the participating students can train all these skills, while at the same time discuss political, economic as well as social, cultural and educational issues. Youth representing the various national races and ethnical groups across ASEM societies are the future leaders of our continents. Following the “learning by doing” approach they will actively develop, among others, their public speaking, negotiation, team work, problem solving, policy advocacy and consensus-building skills at the project.
The theme of the 8th Model ASEM and the 13th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM FMM13) is “Strengthening Partnership for Peace and Sustainable Development”. What type of collaborations that could support achieving this goal of a stronger, peaceful and sustainable ASEM, between governments and between people, does the MOE foresee?
The theme of the 8th Model ASEM and the 13th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is of outmost importance to Myanmar. Collaborations between youth from different backgrounds will definitely improve understanding and create joint visions among youth. Myanmar is today on the right track towards democratic goals as per the guidance of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. According to Myanmar’s Foreign Policy, the Government and people follow five principles of peaceful coexistence, namely: Mutual Respect, Non-aggression, Non-interference, Equality and Cooperation, and Peaceful Co-existence. The Government is therefore trying to support reconciliation after the conflicts in the country. The Government emphasizes also strong friendships within Asian regions and with European countries. Moreover, the Government is trying to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. In other words, the Government and its people hope to support and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). To effectively achieve the SDGs, strengthening global partnership is vital for ASEM countries. The Ministry of Education foresees therefore that all ASEM Partners will share their experiences and visions and extend their hands to the youth of Myanmar and ASEM through mutual respect and strong partnership.