Association of Southeast Asian Nations

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN is an economic and geo-political organization composed of the ten countries of Southeast Asia. This organization was initially comprised of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.



The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was formally established when Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand signed the Bangkok Declaration on 8 August 1967. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, and Vietnam became a member on 28 July 1995. Myanmar and Laos were both admitted as member countries on 23 July 1997 and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.

The first ASEAN Summit, which was held in February 1976 in Bali, Indonesia, formalized the implementation of the Declaration of ASEAN Concord and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.

This started a series of conventions wherein leaders of member countries held dialogues aiming to resolve pending problems and issues. ASEAN Summits were held every five years at first, then every three years. In 2001, however, the members agreed to meet yearly.

ASEAN Summits

  • First ASEAN Summit, Bali, Indonesia. 23-24 February 1976.
  • Second ASEAN Summit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 4-5 August 1977
  • Third ASEAN Summit, Manila, Philippines. 14-15 December 1987
  • Fourth ASEAN Summit, Singapore. 27-29 January 1922
  • Fifth ASEAN Summit, Bangkok, Thailand. 14-15 December 1995
  • Sixth ASEAN Summit, Ha Noi, Vietnam. 15-16 December 1995
  • Seventh ASEAN Summit, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. 5-6 November 2001
  • Eight ASEAN Summit, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 4-5 November 2002
  • Ninth ASEAN Summit, Bali, Indonesia. 7-8 October 2003
  • Tenth ASEAN Summit, Vientiane, Laos. 29-30 November 2004
  • Eleventh ASEAN Summit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 12-14 December 2005
  • Twelfth ASEAN Summit, Cebu, Philippines. 9-15 January 2007
  • Thirteenth ASEAN Summit, Singapore. 18-22 November 2007
  • Fourteenth ASEAN Summit, Cha-am, Thailand. 26 February – 1 March 2009
  • Fifteenth ASEAN Summit, Cha-am Hua Hin, Thailand. 23-25 October 2009
  • Sixteenth ASEAN Summit, Ha Noi, Vietnam. 8-9 April 2010

Goals and Mission

The Bangkok Declaration, which is made up of guidelines for the association's activities and aims, binds the signatories under a unified effort to promote economic cooperation in their region. It also protects the area's political stability against rivalries and serves as an area of dialogue for intra-regional issues.

The ASEAN's primary goal is to improve the economic foundations and condition of its member countries and to help the members attain social progress and cultural development. It also seeks to bridge countries into attaining regional peace and stability by promulgating respect for differing cultures, beliefs and religions.

Cultural Programs

ASEAN hosts varying cultural activities as a way to help the region's progress. These include educational and sport activities like:

  • SEA Write Award, which is a literary award bestowed on Southeast Asian-based poets and writers;
  • Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning, which is a non-government foundation that seeks to strengthen educational institutions in the region;
  • Southeast Asian Games, more commonly known as the SEA Games, which is a multi-sport event that involves all ASEAN member countries; and
  • ASEAN ParaGames, which is a sporting event that gathers athletes with disabilities from the Southeast Asian region.

Meanwhile, the ASEAN Heritage Parks, a list of protected areas in the ASEAN region, aims to protect the region's natural treasures and resources.


  • "ASEAN Summit." Association of Southeast Asian Nations Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).
  • "Overview." Association of Southeast Asian Nations Website. (Accessed 9 July 2010).