In a critical period, academics and youth come together to discuss the pivotal role of ethics in creating a strong ASEAN

By Buranond Kijwatanachai, Programme Officer
10 February 2021

As ASEAN begins to emerge from the pandemic, the road to recovery is full of thorns and pitfalls. A truly inclusive recovery plan must start with its core principle—ethics. For this reason, the AUN Secretariat, in conjunction with the ASEAN Human Development Organisation and the Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards, hosted the webinar titled “Practical Ethics in a Diverse ASEAN: New Challenges and Priorities For Action” on 28 January.

In a cross-sector discussion involving youth, academics, and professionals, major ethical concerns within the ASEAN region were brought up.

The first speaker, Dr. Marzuki Harusman of the Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards, touched on the challenges of finding unity within diversity. He also brought up the idea of updating the current ASEAN triptych with a new one for a new era.

This was followed by Dora Heng, a Singaporean graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School, who spoke on the migrant issue in Singapore. She detailed the flow of migrant workers in the ASEAN region and their mistreatment.

The third speaker, Dr. Eko Suwardi of the ASEAN University Network for Business and Economics, touched the importance of cooperation and how ethics is key to the recovery of ASEAN economics.

Dr. Antonette Palma-Angeles of Ateneo de Manila University then spoke on the importance of philosophical considerations in making policy decisions. In particular, she brought up the question of triage during the pandemic and the considerations for privacy in exchange of accurate contact tracing.

Next, Dr. Paul Lim of the Singapore Management University told the story of his students’ experiences in overcoming adversity through perseverance and cooperation in their efforts to assist those in need. They faced the challenge of their opinions and insights being slighted due to their youth. Dr. Paul Lim points out that it is this very youthful nature that is key to finding novel solutions to age old problems—because youth do not have the emotional and political shackles placed on traditional leaders.

Finally, the last speaker, Mr. Senjaya Mulia of the ASEAN Youth Organization, spoke on his organization and the importance of establishing more intergenerational conversations to find better cooperative solutions to regional problems.

The full recording of this webinar can be found on the AUN Youtube channel here: