THE 55 YEARS OF ASEAN - UNITY IN DIVERSITY
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - on August 8 - when five developing countries of Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand) signed the Bangkok Declaration, which launched an alliance of governments. The Association later was enlarged by Brunei Darussalam (1984), Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and at last, Cambodia joined the Association in 1999. Thus, by now, the 10 member states of ASEAN comprise nearly the entire Southeast Asian geographic region. The significance and importance of this regional cooperation initiative can be seen now even better than before. The world nowadays witnesses a global crisis deriving from the SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) pandemic and its implications on the one hand, and on the other hand, from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that multiplied the effect of the soaring energy prices and disrupted the formerly existing international supply chains generating a turmoil on the global markets. Besides the Asian "Giants", namely China, India, Japan and South Korea, in terms of population, purchasing power and economic performance, ASEAN - with its population of almost 700 million people - can be considered as another important economic hub, moreover, the weight of 10 independent countries represent a significant political power as well. Therefore, ASEAN may provide promising partnership including market and business opportunities not only for Asian partners, but also for overseas, e.g. European, countries.
In the present book of studies - The 55 Years of ASEAN - Unity in Diversity - the esteemed Reader may find a collection of seven studies being authored by professors and scholars from European and Asian countries. The scope of these studies is merely broad, from the issues of economic collaboration till security and political cooperation. The core concepts of these studies are sustainability and regionalism. The main goal of the book is to broaden the readers' scope about this challenging and very interesting region of Asia by providing up-to-date information and analyses which can be interesting - besides economists and other professionals - for students and for all those who are fascinated by Southeast Asia. Besides comprehensive and analytical studies: "ASEAN 55 Years after Its Establishment", "The Potential and Limits of ASEAN Interregionalism", and "The Ecosystem of Social or Impact-driven Enterprises in Southeast Asia", the book contains a number of case studies focusing on more concrete issues or fields, such as "Singapore Once More: A Vital Alignment of Interests and Goals within the ASEAN Framework", "Environmental Geopolitics - Competing Infrastructure Development Visions in the Mekong Subregion", "Between the Middle Kingdom and the Rising Sun: Davao City as a New Frontier in Japan vs. China Regional Rivalry", and "Digital Connectivity in ASEAN Integration".
I trust these valuable studies will be not only interesting, but also useful, giving ideas
and further impetus for professionals and scholars. I wish to express my gratitude
for the financial and moral support received from the Budapest Business School,
University of Applied Sciences (BBS) and the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB, the Central
Bank of Hungary), without which the present book of studies could not have been