Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Promoting "we feeling" of the people of ASEAN is a must to support the realization of the ASEAN Community by 2015, Chairman of ASEAN Foundation Makarim Wibisono said.
"The presence of ownership, togetherness and communication among people will smooth the relations between members of ASEAN and therefore reduce friction or internal conflicts. In the end, the unity of ASEAN will be more solid" Makarim said here on Thursday.
However, he admitted that people`s interaction in the region was still relatively small compared to inter governmental relations. He said the imbalance of communication could lead to the disintegration of ASEAN because people to people contacts was one of the key elements which will strengthen ASEAN unity.
"There are many ways to promote the togetherness feeling such as conducting activities which involved people in ASEAN such as journalists, photographers or academicians," he said.
Earlier Makarim said, in line with ASEAN`s quest for a full-fledged community by 2015, the ASEAN Foundation which strives for common prosperity among ASEAN member states was offering at least six programs during his term of office.
"I intend to hold a meeting of editors from various media in ASEAN and give ASEAN awards to those participating in the promotion of the ASEAN community," he said.
In the field of arts, he said, the ASEAN Foundation also offered a program to translate Indonesian soap operas into the languages of each ASEAN member country or the other way around.
"In education, we aim to set up an ASEAN University in the business field to increase the value of trade or investment among ASEAN member states which is still low compared to that with their trading partners such as China and Japan," he said.
The ASEAN Foundation also wanted to assist ASEAN member states prone to disasters in making disaster management programs coupled with the application of e-learning, he said.
"In the era of digital technology we need to provide information on ASEAN by making use of e-learning," he said.
He added however that to meet the target of the programs the ASEAN Foundation was facing funding problems.
"As a foundation relying on voluntary funding, we find it hard to ask member states to give a contribution in fixed amounts because this runs counter to the characteristics of the foundation," he said.
ASEAN groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.