For the past years, it cannot be denied that the world is experiencing a drastic shift from the industrial era to the information or digital age. This has brought about a change in almost every sector in society, as well as in the way people in society do things. It has influenced many aspects of the lives in many ways people from earlier times have probably not imagined. One of the most prominent changes that this technological era has shown people, is its impact on communication. Nowadays, it does not even take a minute for a message to reach another person. Establishing and maintaining connection, I believe, is the most significant contribution of communication to the world. Not only individuals but nations around the world as well, has become more connected and engaged with each other. The media and communication have enabled a community of different races to learn and develop a sense of sympathy and care towards other races.
One of the clear manifestations of this is the creation of ASEAN integration. The core aim of this initiative is to boost the economic progress of ASEAN Economic Communities (AEC) through a better flow of products, services, and manpower. This initiative also aims to produce globally competitive workers and professionals, by encouraging students to study in neighboring Asian countries. The Youth integration in this initiative aims not only to increase the student’s knowledge on a specific field of study, but to increase their appreciation towards other cultures, and increase their awareness and participation in issues that concern their country and other countries as well. Through this initiative, the youth can begin to develop the ability to think critically and participate in making decisions that could affect their future. Moreover, this will give them a sense of responsibility to contribute to the development of their respective countries.
With the constant and rapid development of technology, you may think that today’s generation or the so-called ‘Millennials’, is just a generation of entitled children who are just mere receptacles of information handed over by the older generation. However, I would beg to disagree. This generation, through the advancements in technology, has become a generation of youth who have extremely great potentials and bright futures. Many of these ‘millennials’ are young people who are capable of critically analyzing the underlying issues that their nation’s experience. Millennials are capable of recognizing the challenges that hinder the development of their country and able to think through different perspectives, whether it be politically, economically, or socially.
Communication is a vial aspect of cultural appreciation. Through the youth of today may come about language barriers and cultural differences, their ability to easily gather information about other cultures gives them an opportunity to explore and appreciate other cultures, through their own means. Today’s youth have developed a strong sense of volunteerism, charity, and nationality that is enough to promote intercultural participation and partnership in each nation. With all this being said, I, therefore, conclude that the ASEAN Integration is a reality constructed by all nations that aspire betterment of their whole wellbeing. Though there may be failures along the way, the spirit of cooperation and understanding has definitely paved a good path for ASEAN nations.
Nana Waehama, Academic Relations Manager