The Asian Vision Institute, a consortium of scholars, policy makers and government advisers, yesterday held its first forum and focused on cultivating robust foreign policies to address regional issues.
Sok Siphana, chairman of the Asian Vision Institute and a government adviser, presided over the forum titled “Cambodia’s Foreign Policy in a New Era” yesterday in Phnom Penh.
“Cambodia needs to invest in research capacity building to have more informed policy making decisions,” Mr Siphana said. “Cambodia needs to also develop a new generation of analysts and professionals capable of appreciating international trends and building trust among global friends.”
He added that in order to fill the gap, AVI has been founded to conduct policy research to recommend solutions to Cambodian officials and other countries in the region.
“Multi-stakeholder dialogues on issues of national and international importance are encouraged as Asia looks for innovative ideas and well catered solution to Asian challenges,” Mr Siphana said, adding that AVI is an independent think-tank.
“Cambodia has much to offer in this respect, and we, at AVI, seek to demonstrate this by promoting more active Cambodian participation as a stakeholder in regional and global communities,” he added. “AVI will help Cambodia ride the tide of the Asia century.”
Suos Yara, director-general of the Asia Cultural Council, said Cambodia is rich in heritage and is looking to approach diplomacy from a cultural standpoint.
Mr Yara said 16 million Cambodians now live an era where peace and unity have been made possible. He added that Cambodia can apply the same principles it used to achieve peace in other countries such as Iraq and Pakistan.
“Cambodia needs to become a bridge for Asian cultures because we can use this bridge to connect,” he said.
Chheang Vannarith, president of AVI secretariat, said 60 percent of its members are foreigners, but high-ranking positions are held by Cambodians.
“AVI is a team that has foreign people on it,” Mr Vannarith said. “AVI is not involved in politics. We will start in Asia first.”
He added AVI is planning to recruit members in Australia, the United States and some European countries.
Members of AVI are currently comprised of people from Thailand, Japan, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, France and Cambodia.
“Our vision is that we want Asia to achieve its goals on economic and cultural prosperity and achieve peace,” Mr Vannarith said.