WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. conducted a briefing on the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for student delegates representing the Philippines, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and China in the National Model United Nations (NMUN) being held in the US capital recently.
Twenty student delegates from the Osgood Centre for International Studies in Washington D.C.; Texas A&M University in Galveston, Texas; and University of Northern Colorado in Greeley attended the briefing held by Mr. Jose Victor V. Chan-Gonzaga, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Embassy, on Friday, November 11.
The first part of the briefing was primarily for the benefit of the delegates who will represent the Philippines at the NMUN. It focused on the priorities of the Duterte Administration, particularly the law and order campaign, and the 10-point economic agenda.
The Philippine Embassy presentation also included a brief situationer on the political, economic and social conditions in the country today. With regard to Philippine participation in the UN, the delegates were given an over-all perspective of Philippine policy thrusts relating to poverty reduction and social inclusion; environmental sustainability, climate change and disaster risk reduction; and commitment to peace and the rule of law.
The second part of the briefing was on ASEAN and regional integration. A brief general overview of the region was provided to the delegates, emphasizing the significance of the regional economy and the size of the ASEAN population as a consumer base. The delegates were also given background information about the ASEAN Charter and the three ASEAN communities.
In order to prepare the delegates for possible cooperation, and even a Joint Statement, during the NMUN, Mr. Chan-Gonzaga spoke on the positions, initiatives and collaborative activities that ASEAN has undertaken in the areas of nuclear safety (for model IAEA), drug control (for model UNGA 3rd Committee), and food security (for model FAO).
“In the real United Nations, ASEAN is already working closely in articulating and promoting its collective, regional view on vital issues affecting the region and the global community. I would, therefore, also urge you to try to work together as a regional bloc at the NMUN and perhaps, by so doing, create a new ASEAN synergy or dynamic that would become more common in model UN conferences around the world,” Mr. Chan-Gonzaga told the delegates in urging them to work together and perhaps deliver a Joint Statement at the NMUN.
The briefing for the NMUN delegates was the first in a series of outreach events being organized by the Embassy during the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN. The Philippines has recently assumed the chairmanship of the organization and will host various meetings, including the Leaders’ Summit in 2017. The outreach events are designed to raise the profile of ASEAN in the United States, and among various stakeholders including, in particular, universities and American students.
The briefing was organized together with the Osgood Centre for International Studies, which is also an institutional partner of the National Model United Nations.
“We thank the Philippine Embassy for the insightful and comprehensive briefing on the Philippines and ASEAN in the United Nations. And I urge the students to work together as ASEAN delegates during the NMUN this weekend,” said Dr. Shelton Williams, President of the Osgood Center.
Two Philippine delegations from De La Salle University and De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde are also participating in the NMUN. The participating students were given a briefing on by Ms. Darell Ann R. Artates, Public Diplomacy Officer of the Embassy, about the United Nations and Philippine policy priorities on various issues in the UN.