Asean community members engaged in a tug-of-war competition during the Family Day at the Barzan Olympic Park in Umm Salal Ali yesterday. (Kammutty VP)
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: A cultural festival is among the events likely to be organised by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Committee in Doha this year under the chairmanship of Thailand.
“One of our aims is to make our presence felt in the Qatari community and promote camaraderie among the Asean community members and a festival could be organised to showcase food and way of life of member countries,” Panyarak Poolthup, Ambassador of Thailand, told The Peninsula yesterday.
Yesterday, Thailand took over the reins as the new chairman of the Asean Committee in Doha (ACD) for the next six months after the Philippines.
Ambassador Poolthup said the heads of missions of seven Asean countries represented in Doha will hold a meeting at the end of this month to chart out plans for activities in the next six months and an Asean festival could be on the list.
Asked on the existing relations among Asean missions here, he said: “We have very good relations but we want to have more people-to-people contact and events such as festivals are an excellent platform.”
Philippine Ambassador Crescente R Relacion, who chaired the committee for the last six months, was of the same view saying: “We have very close relations. The Asean heads of mission meet at least every month and we also have a working committee headed by deputy heads of mission, who are planning out for the different activities.”
The turn-over ceremony yesterday was held as an important part of the Asean Family Day jointly organised by embassies of Brunei and Vietnam, featuring fun games and authentic delicacies from each country. It was held at Barzan Olympic Park in Umm Salal Ali.
“The three pillars of the Asean community include the group as an economic, political and socio-cultural community and this event targets the socio-cultural aspect”, said Ambassador Relacion, adding the Family Day was a big opportunity for the different staff of the embassies to get acquainted with each other.
Ambassador Relacion considered the first Asean Gala Dinner held last year under the chairmanship of Malaysia as a major achievement of the ACD since it was formally established one year ago.
Among the achievements of the ACD under the chairmanship of the Philippine mission included a cultural extravaganza celebrating the founding anniversary of Asean in August last year and a painting contest in October the same year.
Established on August 8, 1967, Asean currently has 10 member countries, seven of which have embassies in Qatar. They are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.