UNIVERSITY STUDENTS all over the country gathered in the University of Santo Tomas to understand the decision-making processes of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the second Model ASEAN Summit (MAS).
ASEAN Foundation Executive Director Elaine Tan and Consultant Wilson Ang said that through MAS, people would be engaged with ASEAN while understanding how diplomacy is practiced in the ASEAN level.
Playing the role of delegates from different ASEAN countries, participating students were grouped and tasked to solve issues such as transnational crimes and transboundary haze using the policies and standpoints of their assigned countries.
Each delegate group was assigned to designate their country’s Head of Government, Ministers, and Members of the Secretariat.
Using the researches they had prepared before the event, the students defended the stand of their countries regarding the said issues “the ASEAN way,” taking turns to speak in behalf of their countries, in a convention called Senior Officials Meeting on the second day of the summit.
They likewise dealt with the technicalities found in each argument in the Sectoral Minister Meeting on the third day, with assigned Foreign Affairs Ministers of every country representing their delegation.
The event concluded when the delegates merged the finalized proposals of the resolutions for the two issues in the Coordinating Council Meeting.
“Worth [it] sumali rito [sa Model ASEAN Summit] kasi may natutunan ako… Noong sumali ako rito, na-broaden ‘yung mind ko. Point of interest ko po kasi ang diplomacy and international politics so this is a way na natututo ako,” said UST History major Jose Christian Anthony Pinzon, who played Philippines’ Minister of Foreign Affairs.
For UST Asian Studies major Lorraine Sajorda who played Myanmar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the experience was fulfilling because they still enjoyed the “intellectual clashes” despite the works they had to do.
Students from University of the Philippines Diliman, Far Eastern University, Capiz State University, University of the East, De La Salle University, De La Salle College of St. Benilde, and Ateneo de Manila University also took part in the event.
The University’s Asian Studies Society organized the second UST MAS, a simulation of ASEAN meetings and mechanisms. It was held last Jan. 25-27 at the Beato Angelico AVR, Thomas Aquinas Research Center, and St. Raymund de Peñafort Building. F MIKKAH F. FACTOR