Prince Mohamed on 3 ASEM pillars

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, yesterday delivered a statement - Overview of the 3 Pillars of the ASEM cooperation including on civil society and future of ASEM - during the fourth Plenary Session on day two of the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

On Monday HRH attended a working lunch and the first and second Plenary sessions. The ministers exchanged views on regional and international matters such as developments in both regions, the situation in the Middle East, climate change and counter-terrorism.

His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness Pg Anak Isteri Pg Anak Hjh Zariah in the evening joined other Foreign Ministers and their spouses for a Gala Dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.

Following is the full text of the statement by HRH Prince Mohamed on Overview of the 3 Pillars of the ASEM cooperation including on civil society and future of ASEM:

Thank you, Chairman. I would like to thank you very much for the Gala Dinner last night. It was a great pleasure to meet colleagues and experience Hungarian culture. I learned a lot and thank you very much indeed.

In fact, the whole evening was like one of the ASEM Pillars, "Social, Cultural and Intellectual". I mention this pillar because it is humanitarian and it directly supports the ordinary people we represent. It encourages them to meet each other, respect each other, share experiences and learn from one another.

I think this is the way ahead for all our people and it sets a very important future direction for ASEM. It is a different one from the middle and late nineties. Back then, our main aims were economic and commercial. ASEM was like a very big development project and we focused on infrastructure like the Trans-Asia Railway Network.

However, since then, economic realities have changed and education cooperation has become very important indeed.

Its form, however, has also changed.

For a long time, Brunei Darussalam has been like most developing nations. We have concentrated mainly on schooling and we have had great help in this from Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

As a result, we have a very bright and ambitious younger generation but now we need to do much more than just recruit teachers and send children overseas to get qualifications. We need to widen and deepen the scope of our efforts.

So, I am very glad to see what our Education Ministers planned in Denmark last month, especially their ideas on lifelong learning, vocational education and training.

I also strongly support all the activities and programmes mentioned in the Chairman's Statement here, in Budapest. I think this is an excellent approach because it empowers our people in a very positive way. It reaches family and community levels and it helps them really understand the modern world.

Above all, it links all generations and gives them confidence in their own personal decision making. It has a real impact on all levels of society. - Borneo Bulletin (8th June 2011)