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Apr 23, 2024 / 11:36

ASEAN Secretary-General calls for maximum effort from youth

Representing a third of the region's population, young people are expected to take the lead in shaping ASEAN's future growth.

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn on April 22 called on ASEAN member states to empower the youth so that they can maximize their skills and drive the future of the region.

 ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn (left) and Acting President of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam Pham Lan Dung (right) inaugurate the ASEAN Square on the Academy's campus. Photo: Tu Anh/The Hanoi Times

Speaking at a meeting with students at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi, the ASEAN official said youth will shape the future growth of the ASEAN.

Asean's youth population will peak in 2038 and is a major growth factor, he said.

He said the regional governments were committed to empowering them and creating an environment to optimize their development.

Saying that the future of ASEAN belongs to the youth, Kao urged them to do their best to promote peace and prosperity and to invest time and effort to become the best versions of themselves.

Young people need to know where they stand and make the most of the time they have left, he said.

According to the Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee Nguyen Tuong Lam, young people make up a third of ASEAN's population of nearly 225 million.

They are a key source of power that is the driving force and architect of the future of the ASEAN nations.

"Young people's wishes, voices and ideas should be incorporated into the policy-making programs of ASEAN governments," Lam said.

"In return, young people should be aware of their role. They must take the lead in the development of the region.

Vietnam's Outstanding Young Person of the Year for 2021, Nguyen Thuc Thuy Tien, called for joint efforts by the younger generations to overcome challenges and ensure that ASEAN's cultural heritage is shared.

Tien said young people will help shape the future of ASEAN, preserve and promote the region's cultural values, and strengthen cooperation among member states for a better future.

Felipe Paullier, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Affairs, said that more than half of the world's population is under 30, and 90% of them live in developing countries.

In the face of global uncertainties, young people are an important driving force for social change and sustainability, he said.

They are fighting for a world of justice, equality, peace and sustainability, where no one is left behind, Felipe added.

To mark the occasion, ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn and Acting Academy President Pham Lan Dung inaugurated the ASEAN Square on the Academy's campus.

The square will raise students' awareness of the importance of ASEAN and emphasize Vietnam's commitment to fulfilling its partnerships with ASEAN member states.