ASEAN Youth CAMP 2015

ASEAN Youth Camp 2015 was organized by the Office of the Higher Education Commission under Thailand’s Ministry of Education, in cooperation with Mae Fah Luang University, held in Chiang Rai province, Thailand, from 15 to 19 December 2015. The objectives of the program are as follows: 1) to promote awareness and the role of youth in ASEAN; 2) to increase understanding of bordering areas and cross-border management for Thailand and neighboring countries; 3) to gain knowledge and understanding of the different cultures within ASEAN; and 4) to build up mutual understanding, friendship and networking among ASEAN Youth. 40 young people from ASEAN nations were selected for the program with 4 members from each ASEAN country, excluding the camp director, staff and speakers. Meanwhile, the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, after the test of ASEAN comprehension, selected 4 students to attend on behalf of the nation, namely:

  1. Ms. Heng Somphospheak, Royal University of Phnom Penh
  2. Mr. Ky Mengly, Royal University of Phnom Penh
  3. Mr. Yeang Sethsomprathna,University of Cambodia
  4. Ms. Soun Khanra, University of Cambodia

Day 1

On the first day of the program, delegates were warmly welcomed by the camp director and organizers. The participants joined the ASEAN Youth Camp Orientation and started to introduce themselves to one another. The event was launched when Prof. Dr. Vanchai Sirichana, President of Mae Fah Luang University, delivered an opening speech, which was followed by another opening remark by Miss. Aporn Kanvong, Secretary-General of the Office of the Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education. The delegates then joined the workshop entitled, “Role of Youth toward ASEAN Integration,” led by Miss. Tanwan Topoklang. Afterwards, the delegates prepared their country culture exhibition booth for display. The display booths were shown prior to the lecture, “Beyond ASEAN 2015” by Mr. Akkharaphong Khamkhun from Thammasat University. The last event of the first day marked the auspicious occasion as each group of delegates conducted their country’s cultural performance. During the party we ate, danced, and played together. Toward the end of the day, all delegates were separated into different groups to work together for the upcoming day’s agenda.

Day 2

The second day consisted of four activities. The program was started with the workshop entitled, “Cross Cul-ture Awareness,” led by Ms. Ployaitoon Chitsomnuk, Group Training Manager and Senior Department Head at Ocean Property, Co., Ltd. She gave a very clear explanation on how to handle cross cultural friendship and interaction. Additionally, she divided the participants in to four groups in order to compose and conduct a very short role-play based on the different lessons she presented. It was a very great time to build our team working skills, and to learn from each other about our different cultures. After lunch, there was another lecture on the topic, “Border Management in Thailand,” by Mr. Warawut Ruankhan. He gave a comprehensive lecture on the area of the Thai border called the Golden Triangle, where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos jointly share a border. We then visited the Hall of Opium at Chiang Saem District wherein we learned the history of opium and its relation to the Golden Triangle. We also played a fantastic game in the Hall of Opium as we were told to complete a quest. Then we continued the visit to the Golden Triangle Park of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. After our long journey in the Chiang Saem District, we came to have dinner at Ruen Rim Nam Restaurant. We concluded the day by doing a reflection activity and playing some games.

Day 3

On the third day, we went to Doi Tung Development Project. The Doi Tung factory manager guided us around the factory and the Doi Tung coffee industry, pot industry, and cottage industry. We learned that the develop-ment of the factory owed a great deal of its progress to the late Princess’s Mother, Srinagarindra. Afterwards, we left for lunch at Leelawadee restaurant. We then moved on to visit the Hall of Inspiration, the legacy of the Thai King’s involvement with his social life. We watched the video describing the history of the Doi Tung Development Project. Latter on, we visited Doi Tung Royal Villa and Mae Fah Luang Garden. Finally, we went back to Mae Fah Laung University to have dinner and enjoy playing games.

Day 4

The fourth day began with a special lecture on Thai Culture by Mr. Cheer, lecturer from the School of Liberal Arts at MFU. Then we joined four different Thai culture activities such as: performing arts, Thai Kratung and Thai Tung, and played Thai traditional chess. In the afternoon, we were required to discuss the “Future of ASEAN Culture”. All the delegates were divided into four different groups to share and present their ideas on the future of ASEAN culture. With strong commitments, each delegate brought many creative and intelligent ideas of ASEAN unity in diversity. Following, certificates were presented by Miss. Aporn Kanvong, Secretary-General of the Office of the Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education. She continued the following agenda by giving a closing remark based on fostering ASEAN friendship. The end of the day saw us enjoying the last dinner together at Thanam Phulae Restaurant. After that, the organizing committee dropped us at Chiang Rai Night Bazaar for souvenir shopping.
The last day marked a nostalgic sense for all the delegates, as we all returned to our home countries. After breakfast finished, all delegates hugged each other and took sad photos as they departed from Chiang Rai.

We would like to express a deep thanks to the Ministry of Education for sending us to this meaningful pro-gram. Meanwhile, we would also like to show our gratitude to our Universities for offering us this important opportunity. We believe that our involvement played a very important role in promoting our culture in ASEAN integration, especially in regards to ASEAN Youth involvement. Moreover, we understand the benefits and challenges of future ASEAN culture. Last but not least, we would like to encourage all Cambodian youth to participate in any program, which focuses on the development, harmony and sustainability of ASEAN, so as to build knowledge and promote regional understanding.