The ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA) and the AMCA Plus Three (AMCA+3) held their Fifth Meeting in Singapore on 24 May 2012. The Ministers also held the First AMCA Plus China (AMCA+China) meeting on the same day at the same venue.
The AMCA Meeting was attended by Pehin Dato Haji Hazair, Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Darussalam; Mr Him Chhem, Minister for Culture and Fine Arts, Cambodia; Ms Wiendu Nuryanti, Vice Minister for Culture (Ministry of Education and Culture), Indonesia; Bouangeun Xaphouvong, Vice Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR; Dr Rais Yatim, Minister for Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia; Mrs Sanda Khin, Deputy Minister for Culture, Myanmar; Prof Felipe M. de Leon Jr., Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Philippines; Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore; Mrs Sukumol Kunplome, Minister for Culture, Thailand; Mr Huynh Vinh Ai, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Vietnam; and Dato Misran Karmain, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
The AMCA+3 Meeting was attended by the above leaders and the Plus Three Leaders: Mr Cai Wu, Minister for Culture, PRC; Mr Masayuki Shibata, Director General, Commissioner’s Secretariat, Japan and Mr Oh Joon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Singapore.
The AMCA+China Meeting was attended by the above ASEAN leaders and Mr. Cai Wu, Minister for Culture, PRC.
The Meeting was officially opened by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister forInformation, Communications and the Arts, Singapore. In his opening address, he welcomed all Ministers and their delegations to the Meeting and to Singapore. He stressed the importance of the AMCA platform forging a strong regional identity for ASEAN and noted the many projects that have been undertaken towards that goal. He also highlighted the progress that ASEAN had achieved in deepening cultural collaboration with its Dialogue Partners and outlined Singapore’s plans as host of the ASEAN City of Culture.
In his speech, Dr Yaacob noted that at the 11th Conference of ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI), ASEAN Ministers had acknowledged the emergence of social media as an important tool for communications and interaction in ASEAN today. In addition, Dr Yaacob said that ASEAN could leverage more on social media platforms such as Facebook,to raise awareness of ASEAN and initiatives such as the ASEAN City of Culture.
During the plenary session, the Ministers reviewed the progress of cultural collaborations within ASEAN and outlined priorities for the next two years. The meeting reviewed the progress of the ASEAN Declaration on Unity in Cultural Diversity Towards Strengthening ASEAN Community, theimplementation of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, all of which areimportant enablers towards building an ASEAN Community by 2015.
Supporting this, the Ministers agreed to enhance ASEAN cooperation in the areas of culture and arts focusing on human resources development,protection and promotion of ASEAN cultural heritage and development of small and medium-sized cultural enterprises, including creative industry projects.
The Ministers agreed that there is a need to focus on youth involvement in culture through the different platforms, be it through new and social media, cultural voluntarism, cultural entrepreneurship or people-to-people exchanges and connectivity programmes.
At the Fifth Meeting of AMCA+3, the Ministers noted the steady progress achieved in the AMCA+3 collaboration in cultural related areas. The meeting noted the constructive role that the AMCA+3 co-operation mechanism had played in facilitating closer cooperation in the areas of cultural heritage protection, cultural human resource development and the cultural industries, as well as facilitating discussions on policy sharing in the implementation of arts and culture polices. The Ministers also endorsed the draft Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation in Culture.
At the First Meeting of AMCA+China, the Ministers reviewed the progress in cultural cooperation between ASEAN and China and agreed on the proposed priority areas and modalities articulated in the Concept Paper on ASEAN-China Cooperation on Culture and the Arts, which was based on the 2005 ASEAN-China Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation and the 2011 ASEAN+China Culture Ministers meeting in Chongqing. The meeting also agreed on the operational guidelines of the AMCA+China meetings including the objective, scope of activities and structure of the meeting.
The Ministers of ASEAN+3 countries would be making a call on Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on 25 May.
The Fifth ASEAN Festival of the Arts, to be held in conjunction with the Fifth Meeting of AMCA, would be attended by Ministers of ASEAN and Plus Three Countries. The gala show, to be held at the National Museum Singapore on 25 May, will feature performers from the 10 ASEAN countries. Themed “Unity in Cultural Diversity’’, the gala show aims to promote the ASEAN common identity and celebrate cultural diversity within ASEAN.
Singapore, as the Chair of AMCA and host for the 5th AMCA meeting, was designated as the ASEAN City of Culture for 2012-2013, during the meeting. The ASEAN City of Culture concept was first discussed and adopted at the Third Meeting of AMCA on 12 January 2008 at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar and was launched in 2010 with Pampanga, Philippines, designated as the first ASEAN City of Culture. The ASEAN City of Culture initiative aims to strengthen the ASEAN identity and raise the profile of ASEAN in the region and internationally, celebrate ASEAN arts and culture and promote the growth of the region’s creative industries, as well as promote People to People Engagement.
The next AMCA, AMCA+3 and AMCA+China Meetings are scheduled to be held in 2014 in Vietnam.