According to the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint of 2007, the primary goal of the ASCC is to contribute to realising an ASEAN Community that is people-centred and socially responsible with a view to achieving enduring solidarity and unity among the nations and peoples of ASEAN by forging a common identity and building a caring and sharing society by the year 2015. The ASCC aspires to respect the different cultures, languages, and religions of the peoples of Southeast Asia, emphasizing their common values in the spirit of unity in diversity and adapt them to present realities, opportunities and challenges. Two ideals stand out: the creation of a knowledge-based society through equitable access to human development opportunities by promoting and investing in education and life-long learning, and the building of an ASEAN identity based on friendship and cooperation.
As non-profit organisations that focus on sustainable education for all kinds of people, Southeast Asian museums and museum professionals should be alert and prepared for this important social change. To contribute to realizing the ASEAN community, and becoming an active agent of change for a more harmonious Southeast Asia, is a challenge for all museums, both national and private.
Under the concept of ‘unity based on diversity of Southeast Asia’, the museums should be able to present their cultural identity and indigenous wisdom as well as present the identity of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian museums should join hands in the conservation and preservation of ASEAN cultural heritage. They could share their common work experiences and best practices; enhance their capacity in protecting cultural resources; display designs; and facilitate interaction with youths and the public.
With much experience in encouraging museums in Thailand to hold regular discussions at its Museum Forum since 2005, SEAMEO SPAFA offers to host in 2012 a gathering of museums and museum professionals in Southeast Asia to discuss how they could meet this challenge of becoming active members of the ASCC in the future. The meeting will be organised in collaboration with the Museum Association of Thailand, the Research Institute of Cultures and Languages, Mahidol University and the Thai Human Imagery Museum. Depending on the spirit of cooperation in the region, this may develop into a regular Southeast Asian or ASEAN Museum Forum.
- State and private museums in Southeast Asia
- Museum resource persons in Thailand
- Academic institutes, lecturers and students
- Museum Association of Thailand (MAT)
- Research Institute of Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University
- Thai Human Imagery Museum
With reference to the ASEAN ASCC blueprint, museums in Southeast Asia are expected to prepare for the ASEAN Community in 2015. However, questions have been raised about the how much museums understand of the implications of the ASCC blueprint; what kind of activities they should undertake in response, and how museums in Southeast Asia can assist one another to meet the challenges.
- To raise the issue of the role of Southeast Asian museums in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community building.
- To promote dialogue and explore areas of collaboration between museums in the Southeast Asian region.
- To explore ways to enhance capacity-building opportunities for Southeast Asian museums.
- To create international networks of museums related to the cultural heritage and identity of Southeast Asia.
- The role of Southeast Asian museums in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community building is better defined, and implementation plans are initiated.
- Fruitful institutional and personal dialogues established between museums and museum professionals in the Southeast Asian region.
- Future plans of collaboration between museums in the Southeast Asian region presented.
- Improved mechanisms for Southeast Asian museums to operate in the international networks of museums related to the cultural heritage and identity of Southeast Asia.