ASEAN’s Dynamic Youth: Unlocking the Region’s Future Potential

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn hosted an interface session titled "ASEAN Youth - ASEAN Future: The Role of Youth in Shaping ASEAN's Future". This event was held in Hanoi on the afternoon of April 22nd with the participation of ASEAN youth. The session was part of the inaugural ASEAN Future Forum 2024 initiative.


The youth – An indispensable force in all global initiatives

The interface session was also attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Nguyen Tuong Lam, Acting Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam Pham Lan Dung, ASEAN Ambassadors to Vietnam, Representatives of ASEAN embassies in Vietnam.

The event was organized in a hybrid format, connecting with young people from member countries in ASEAN and 67 points from provinces and unions across Vietnam.

In his statement during the session, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs Felipe Paullier emphasized the importance of
ASEAN youth

, as part of the global youth, in encouraging the successful implementation of the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Secretary-General of ASEAN Kao Kim Hourn (C) at the interface session with youth delegates from ASEAN countries. (Photo: Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam)

In addition, Felipe Paullier highlighted the importance of every global initiative for the role of the young, and he expected ASEAN youth to contribute more to policymaking and suggest new initiatives and ideas for the development of the country, region, community, and the entire world.

Nguyen Thuc Thuy Tien, Miss Grand International and winner of the 2021 Vietnam Outstanding Young Face Award stressed the need to preserve and promote traditional values among
Vietnamese youth

. This serves not only to honor the past but also to bring up opportunities for the present and future, resulting in an outstanding asset for socioeconomic development.

According to Thuy Tien, to reassert the role of ASEAN youth in general, and Vietnamese youth in particular, in ASEAN’s future, youth must actively preserve and promote traditional cultures. Simultaneously, there are numerous initiatives aimed at promoting global cooperation and cultural exchange, developing shared interests, and creating a more unified society.

At the event, the representatives from Malaysian and Lao youth discussed how ASEAN youth might foster creativity and long-term economic development. Youth representatives from various countries also contributed many ideas and initiatives for resolving common regional concerns, contributing to building a united and strong ASEAN.

Empowering the youth

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn affirmed that the dialogue program would encourage youth involvement and enable the next generation of leaders to make significant contributions to the ASEAN Community.

According to the Secretary-General, ASEAN youth numbered 224.2 million in 2020, accounting for around 34% of the region’s entire population. Based on projections, the youth population will peak in 2038, indicating enormous potential for influencing the socioeconomic landscape and ensuring ASEAN’s growth.

Delegates of the event (Photo: Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam)

Kao Kim Hourn stated that utilizing the collective power of ASEAN youth is critical to defining ASEAN’s future. As a result, developing structures for ASEAN youth to participate and express their thoughts and goals is critical, and this interface session serves as an example.

Vietnamese youth and ASEAN presented eight questions to the Secretary-General during the interface session, covering subjects such as encouraging environmental initiatives, addressing climate change challenges, youth voices, and improving innovation. The Secretary General of ASEAN listened and answered questions.

On this occasion, the Secretary-General of ASEAN called for actions to focus on promoting the collective strength of youth for the development of the region; affirming that volunteer activities play an important pillar for youth participation, shaping the future of ASEAN.

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to empowering regional youth, creating a favorable environment for them to realize their full potential.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (C), Secretary-General of ASEAN Kao Kim Hourn, and Acting Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam Pham Lan Dung inaugurate ASEAN Square.

On the same day, at the Diplomatic Academy, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn attended the Inauguration Ceremony of the ASEAN Square. The square was built on the main campus of the Diplomatic Academy with the main architecture bearing the symbol of ASEAN.

Phuong Nguyen