In commemoration of the foundation anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 8 August 1967, the Berlin ASEAN Committee (BAC) hosted the 49th ASEAN Day Reception at the Singapore Embassy on 8 September 2016.
H.E. Daw Yin Yin Myint, Ambassador of Myanmar and current Chair of the BAC addressed a crowd of 300 guests and provided an overview on ASEAN and the opportunities for German businesses with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a major milestone in the regional economic integration agenda of ASEAN.
Dr. Thomas Gambke, Chairman of the ASEAN Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag and Ms. Sabine Sparwasser, Director-General for Political Affairs (Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Near and Middle East) from the German Federal Foreign Office were in attendance and delivered their respective remarks as Guests of Honor.
While congratulating the ASEAN BAC, Dr. Gambke said that recent world political developments could be looked at as a challenge and Brexit was one. He also noted the value of consensus among ASEAN. As an MP for the Green Party, he highlighted the importance of German-ASEAN cooperation in the fields of Electro Mobility (E-mobility) and renewable energy.
In her remarks, Ms. Sparwasser said, “We in Germany believe in multilateralism, we believe in a rules-based system of international cooperation, we believe in regionalism. We are believers in ASEAN.” Ms. Sparwasser also said that the EU Foreign Ministers have tasked Germany with taking the EU-ASEAN partnership to a higher level – a strategic partnership with a focus on trade, non-traditional security threats and on connectivity. She ended her speech with a toast for a continued European- ASEAN friendship.
Attendees were offered a variety of ASEAN cuisines from the ten Embassies and presented with traditional dances from Thailand (Serng Kratip Khoa), Indonesia (Renggong Manis), Myanmar (Ta Bin Taing) and Malaysia (Samazau).
The Philippine Embassy meanwhile organized a demonstration of Modern Arnis, the Philippine National Martial Art and Sport, by the Berlin-based members of the German Arnis Association or the Deutsche Arnis Verband (DAV). Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima, is originally known as Arnis de Mano or “harness of the hand.” DAV is the largest Arnis association in Germany with over 6,000 members across the country.
Business leaders, members of parliament and government officials were also offered Filipino mango rum and calamansi liqueur during the reception along with Filipino dishes. The Philippine Embassy is the incoming ASEAN BAC Chair and will hold the position for the first six months of 2017. END