The first ASEAN Youth Forum concluded on Saturday with a ceremony to offer flowers at the Ho Chi Minh statue on the Nguyen Hue pedestrian street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.

Thirty-six representatives from seven countries participating in the forum, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, also posed for a group picture under the flagpoles of ASEAN countries at the promenade.

Hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the event kicked off on Thursday, meant to create chances for young people to enhance the mutual understanding of the history, culture, and social situations of regional countries, as well as to raise awareness and join hands in building an ASEAN community in unity and solidarity.

The participants, who are outstanding young people aged from 18 to 30, discussed their opinions in the main session of the forum, focusing on three topics: raising awareness of ASEAN cultural values, preserving and improving ASEAN cultural heritage, and spurring ASEAN creativity and culture.
They put forward interesting and practical solutions related to the topics.

During the discussion on preserving and improving ASEAN cultural heritage on Friday, a bunch of ideas were shared, such as educating people at an early age on ASEAN cultural heritage or using technology and social networks as well as asking for support from reputable organizations like UNESCO to preserve and improve regional cultural heritage sites.

The young representatives also suggested establishing free language teaching centers, building cultural parks, or preparing online reports to provide updated information on regional situations when it comes to raising awareness of ASEAN cultural values.

Zainal Adzam Bin Zainal, a 22-year-old Malaysian, said he has only visited Indonesia and Vietnam so he does not have an adequate understanding of other countries in Southeast Asia.

“This forum is very meaningful since it has helped me have the chance to learn more about regional cultures, as well as to know about interesting opinions on cultural preservation from international friends,” Zainal added.

Tran Hoang Khanh Van, head of the international department of Ho Chi Minh City’s Youth Union, spoke well of the useful and frank opinions of the forum participants.

“Though they did not have much time but they were well-prepared for the discussions,” Van said. “This is the first time Ho Chi Minh City has hosted an international event with a large number of tasks but so far we have felt 80 percent satisfied with its quality.”

She added the organizers will listen to comment for better events in the future.

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