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          Background :

     All members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) affirmed their strong commitment to both accelerate the establishment of a complete ASEAN Community by 2015 as well as having the ASEAN Charter as the community’s constitution for the mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of each nation. Comprised of three pillars, namely the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASC), ASEAN aims to stimulate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region, to promote regional peace and stability, and to encourage active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative fields. These foundations allow all ASEAN nations to live in peace, stability and prosperity and to be bonded together in partnership through dynamic development and in a community of caring societies that transcend social, cultural and language barriers.

     The Mekong Region’s, which is partly within ASEAN boundaries, are areas of interaction among governments, private sectors, ethnic groups and transborder peoples.  Such interaction develops and changes through time under different social, political, economic, cultural, and language contexts, conditions and policies.  “Borders” become areas of transborder interaction between various ethnicities. Controlled borders are turned into “open borders” which are used for immigrant trafficking, commodities transportation, capital mobility and cultural movement. Moreover, borders, facilitated by the governments, become places for trade that provide, develop, and maintain such trading facilities as basic infrastructure, law, technology, and regulation to reduce associated cost burdens and to maximize efficiency of free-trade and the transference and exchange of resources, product and culture, and, the interaction of peoples and languages.

     In terms of the dynamics of border development, it has been found that the phenomenon in which peoples, goods, products, innovations and new technology are transferred with ease, both formally and informally, across the Thailand-Laos borders with the support and promotion of the Mekong nations’ governments, plays a very significant role in the acceleration of economic, social, political and cultural development.

     The transborder interaction along Mekong River exists as a result of the promotion of the economic integration and policies of different the Mekong nations which led the integration of Mekong border activities facilitation.  The changes began after the declaration of Vietnamese’s Doi Moi liberal policy and the “New Economy Mechanism” policy of Laos in 1986, when the Cambodian government was focusing on capitalism after its general election under supervision of the UN in 1993, China’s new power to GMS, the so-called policy-shift from the battle field to market place by the Chartchai Choonhawan government, GMS program supported by Asian Development Bank in 1989 to promote economic cooperation in the 6 Mekong countries: Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, and, the initiation of Economic Corridor or EC such as the East West Economic Corridor: EWEC in 1998,  later in 2005 Cross Border Transportation Agreement or CBTA was established with its primary aim to promote industrial, agricultural, trading, investment, and service expansion within the region by developing basic infrastructure system, transportation, energy resource management,  more recently, in 2003, Cambodia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam worked in collaboration to issue the ACMECS, and recently ASEAN community mechanism, these are significantly influenced to new face of cooperation between Mekong and ASEAN countries.

     The Mekong Sub-region Social Research Centre (MSSRC), the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Ubon Ratchathani University plays important academic roles such as integrating  Mekong regional studies, encouraging research and learning about the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), creating Mekong regional studies and regional language courses which include Chinese, Lao, Khmer and Vietnamese. The centre is dedicated to forging links between academics, researchers and students from universities and organizations within the region and beyond. It also promotes knowledge sharing across the region through activities that bolster the dissemination of information, such as an online database, an informative website, educational courses, publications, workshops, brown bag discussion groups and conferences. In 2005, MSSRC held an International Conference on “Transborder Issues in the Greater Mekong Sub-region” and another in 2010, “Changing Ways of Life of Ethnicities in the Mekong Region.” This year, the MSSRC will hold an international conference entitled “Mekong Region and ASEAN in Transition: People and Transborder Issues.”

 

 Contact person: Ms.Kitiya, Dr. Pinwadee
Mekong Subregion Social Research Center [MSSRC]
  Faculty of Liberal Arts, Ubon Ratchathani University
  Satholamark Rd, Maungsikai subdistrict, Warinchamrap,
  Ubon Ratchathani province THAILAND 34190
  Tel (+66)45 353706, (+66)45 353725
  Fax (+66)45 288870
  email: mekongcentre@gmail.com, mssrc_ubu@yahoo.com