Russian International Studies Association

Russian International Studies Association

Conference «Russia and ASEAN in the Asia-Pacific Region: Dynamics of Cooperation, Regional Processes and Global Context»: highlights

Conference «Russia and ASEAN in the Asia-Pacific Region: Dynamics of Cooperation, Regional Processes and Global Context»: highlights

From October 13 to 15, within the framework of the 14th RISA Convention, the ASEAN Centre in cooperation with its partners organized the annual international conference "Russia and ASEAN in the Asia-Pacific Region: Dynamics of Cooperation, Regional Processes and Global Context". This year the conference was dedicated to the 55th anniversary of ASEAN.

The opening ceremony of the conference took place on October 13. The ceremony was inaugurated by the Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and International Economic Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Philippines H.E. Carlos Sorreta. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Russian Federation H.E. Jose Antonio Morato Tavares, Director of the Department for multilateral economic cooperation and special projects at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Dr. Natalia Stapran, Chairman of the Russia-ASEAN Business Council Mr. Ivan Polyakov also welcomed the participants of the conference. The opening ceremony was moderated by MGIMO Vice-Rector for Science and Research Dr. Andrey Baykov.

During the three days of the conference, about 100 participants took part in the sessions’ discussions. The program comprised two book presentations on ASEAN-related topics, eight sessions in Russian and three sessions in English, as well as a round table dedicated to the results of the Y20 summit, held this summer in Indonesia. For the first time this year, two special sessions were jointly organized with partner universities and special sessions were conducted with the participation of students and young researchers. The representatives of all ten ASEAN countries as well as the delegates from Moscow (Lomonosov Moscow State University, People’s Friendship University, National Research University the Higher School of Economics, Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the RAS, Institute of Oriental Studies of the RAS, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Institute of Europe of the RAS, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the  RAS and regional (St. Petersburg State University, Far Eastern Federal University, Ural Federal University, National Research Tomsk State University i) universities and institutions as well as international organizations (the International Committee of the Red Cross).

On the first day of the conference sessions were designed to discuss the role of the Association in the world, its achievements in the recent years and to analyze the current challenges and threats ASEAN is facing today. Several presentations touched upon the phenomenon of ASEAN centrality and Association’s interaction with its dialogue partners. Particular attention was paid to the implementation of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia, as well as the growing interest of Japan, Australia and New Zealand to cooperate with the Association. The discussion also addressed such topics as the Mekong River issues, relations between Thailand and Lao PDR, the role of Vietnam in ASEAN, as well as the economic level of individual countries’ development. Several presentations were also devoted to the issues of digitalization in the region and the energy factor.

On the second day, the conference discussion focused on the topical issues of cooperation between Russia and ASEAN amidst the growing international turbulence. During their presentations, the participants raised such issues as the search for new financial interaction channels, the problem of alternative logistics routes as well as the development of an effective social and humanitarian cooperation strategy, especially in the field of education. Particular attention was paid to the analysis of the intensification of Russia's cooperation with Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and other members of ASEAN. Discussions also unfolded around the possibilities of linking such integrations as the EAEU, the SCO and ASEAN.

As it was mentioned previously, for the first time this year, the conference included two special joint sessions organized in partnership with Higher School of Economics and Tomsk State University. On October 14, ASEAN Centre, and the Higher School of Economics organized a joint session on the topic “The upcoming world order: which international institutions are to stay and to serve their purpose”. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Russian Federation Khaled Shawabkeh, presented his opening remarks during this session. The session was moderated by HSE Vice-Rector for International Relations Dr. Victoria Panova and MGIMO Vice-Rector for Science and Research Dr. Andrey Baykov.

Among the speakers were also the Head of the MGIMO Department of Diplomacy, Special Envoy and Senior Official at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Dr. Kirill Barsky, First Deputy Chairman of the United Nations Association of Russia, Vice-President of the World Federation of the UN Associations Dr. Alexey Borisov, Director of the IIS Center for East Asia Studies and Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies at the MGIMO University, Head of International Laboratory on World Order Studies and the New Regionalism at the HSE University Professor Alexander Lukin and Director of the Center of Euro-Asian Studies, MGIMO University Dr. Ivan Safranchuk.

On October 15, Tomsk State University and the ASEAN Centre hosted another joint session. It was dedicated to Laos and its role in the system of international relations in general and in Southeast Asia in particular. Among the guests of the session were such well-known Russian experts on Laos as Professor of the Department of Diplomacy at MGIMO University Dr. Yuri Raikov, Associate Professor of the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation Dr. Lyudmila Kuntysh, Head of the Department of History of the Far East and Southeast Asia, Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University Dr. Nadezhda Bektimirova and invited expert of the ASEAN Centre Dr. Elena Yakovleva. The Laotian students and graduate students studying in Tomsk, as well as professors and expert staff represented the Tomsk State University at the session. The session was moderated by the Director of the ASEAN Centre Dr. Ekaterina Koldunova and Professor at the Department of World Politics of Tomsk State University Professor Evgeny Troitsky. The session’s audience also included Russian students studying the Lao language and Lao students studying in Russia.

The conference also featured two presentations of new academic books on ASEAN and Russian-ASEAN cooperation. On October 14, there was a presentation of a Russian translation of the book by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia (2009-2014) H.E. Dr. Marty Natalegawa Does ASEAN Matter? A View from within edited by the Senior Expert of the ASEAN Centre Dr. Victor Sumsky. The presentation ceremony was attended by the author himself, academic editor, representatives of the Aspect Press publishing house and Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Dr. Alexander Ivanov, with whose support this project was implemented.

On October 15, there was a presentation of Dr. Paradorn Rangsimaporn’s book Central Asia and Southeast Asia: Exploring the Dynamics of Greater Engagement Representatives of Central Asian academic institutions and Russian experts took part in the discussion of the book. Information about the books is available on the websites of the publishers (Aspect PressPalgrave Macmillan).

An important part of the past conference was a series of youth events with the participation of Russian and ASEAN students, as well as young experts and researchers. The start of the youth program of the conference was given by a round table following the results of the Y20 Summit held in Indonesia under the auspices of G20, where delegates presented their own implemented projects on global agenda issues. The youth track continued with two sessions, during which the speakers also presented the outcomes of their research. Following the results of the conference, the ASEAN Centre is planning to publish a conference proceedings collection as of last year.

Ms. Evgeniya Zaitseva and Ms. Farida Babaeva, representatives of Tomsk State University, took an active part in the conference preparation process as the participants of the Centre’s professional internship program. During all three days, about 30 volunteers selected by the Centre from all schools of MGIMO helped to manage all conference events.

The ASEAN Centre expresses special gratitude to the interns, volunteers, and administrative services of MGIMO University for their help in organizing and conducting the event, as well as to all the guests, partners, and speakers of the conference for their cooperation and contribution to the discussions and the success of the conference.