A group of second-year International Studies students from Miriam College, namely Angelica Boquiren, Church Dolatre, Danielle Noche, Dominique Policarpio, and Zoe Verzo, recently participated in the University of Santo Tomas’ Model ASEAN Meeting (UST MAM) 2023. The three-day international conference, which was held via Zoom last February 16 to 18, 2023, was organized by the Asian Studies Program of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of UST.
The theme of this year's UST MAM was "Rediscovering ASEAN's Relevance in the Post-Pandemic World." The conference was a simulation of the procedural meetings of the ASEAN, where the delegates applied their skills in leadership, cooperation, and public speaking. The delegates played a crucial role in exhibiting the diplomatic role for a collaborative and productive dialogue in the Economic, Political-Security, and Socio-cultural aspects of the region.
The UST MAM 2023 was curated with three agendas: First, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), with their topic focused on intensifying inter and intra-ASEAN trade adjustment to stabilize the supply and demand of staple products. Second, the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), with their topic focused on fortifying ASEAN's preventive diplomacy amidst increasing great power interests in the Asia Pacific. Third, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), with their topic focused on equipping the ASEAN youth with future skills for the dynamic world of work.
Despite the challenges faced by some of the delegates, they were able to successfully embody and incorporate the ideals and visions of their respective countries for the ASEAN citizens. Church Dolatre, the Head of Government (HOG) of Vietnam, who led the delegation that won the Best Delegation Award, expressed her gratitude for the support and guidance of her co-delegates in areas that were out of her forte.
The conference proved to be a productive and meaningful experience for the delegates, who gained key takeaways such as upholding diplomacy in terms of negotiation and discourse, improving research, writing, and public speaking skills, and familiarizing themselves with the mission, vision, and principles of the ASEAN region. The delegates also encouraged IS students to participate in various conferences like the UST MAM to enhance their diplomatic skills.
Overall, the UST MAM 2023 was a successful event that showcased the importance of collaboration and diplomacy among the ASEAN member states, especially in the post-pandemic world. The delegates' experiences proved that even in challenging times, a collective effort can result in a successful outcome.
Written by: Erica De Leoz, Irish Francisco