The opening ceremony for the 53rd Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN-COCI) was held in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
The meeting opened with the ASEAN commemorative song. Next, Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture, Thura U Aung Ko, delivered a speech.
In his speech, the minister recognized the efforts made by senior officers of the COCI towards implementing the ASEAN Strategic Plan for Culture and Arts and the blueprint for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC).
He said the ASEAN–COCI was established on 4 October 1978 and the first ASEAN-COCI meeting was held from 4 to 6 October in 1978 in Manila, the Philippines. The ASEAN Culture Fund (ACF) was established on 2 December 1978. In 1985, COCI was operated through four working groups, Literary and ASEAN Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, Radio/TV, and Films/Video Print and Interpersonal Media.
The Union Minister said in 1999, the ASEAN-COCI changed its mode of operation. It now operates through two subcommittees: the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Culture and the ASEAN Sub-Committee on Information.
The sub-committees plan, implement and monitor projects which are approved and funded by the ASEAN-COCI and the ACF. Similarly, the ASEAN National COCIs in the ASEAN Member States oversee the coordination and implementation of ASEAN-COCI projects and activities. The ASEAN National COCIs comprise representatives from the ministries of Culture, Information, State-run Radio and Television Networks, Heritage Boards, Museums, Archives, and Libraries of ASEAN member states.
The minister said the ASEAN Vision 2020 is also providing COCI with an aim for ASEAN: “A community conscious of its ties of history, aware of its cultural heritage, and bound by a common regional identity”.
The COCI is cooperating with dialogue partner countries and partner organisations in accordance with ASEAN rules and regulations. The cooperation which has seen prominent results, based on the unique regional signatures and the reality of ASEAN during the 50 years of ASEAN’s formation.
He said the COCI will support cultivating people’s awareness of ASEAN, exchanges, and cooperation of culture and art, upgrading of the culture and art industry, the conservation and preservation of cultural heritage, and human resource development in the culture sector to reach ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
He expressed his appreciation of the culture and arts exchange, and cooperation between ASEAN countries and thanked officials from the ASEAN Secretary-General’s Office for ensuring smooth operations. He said he believes the meeting will help improve the culture and art sector and expressed hopes of speeding up cooperation between ASEAN countries.
Afterwards, local and ASEAN traditional dances were performed at the ceremony.
Also present at the ceremony were Union Minister for Information, Dr. Pe Myint, Chairman of Nay Pyi Taw Council Dr. Myo Aung,
Deputy Ministers U Aung Hla Tun and U Kyi Min, permanent secretaries, departmental officials, officials of ASEAN-COCI from respective ASEAN countries and representatives from the ASEAN Secretary-General’s Office. In the evening, Union Minister Thura U Aung Ko hosted a dinner for ASEAN-COCI officials at the Royal Nay Pyi Taw Hotel.
Myat Thandar Aung)