12th April, Chiang Mai, Thailand – National Scout Organizations in southeast Asia had a two-day gathering in Chiangmai, Thailand for the 3rd Conference of the ASEAN Scouts Association for Regional Cooperation (ASARC). The ASARC was established in 2007 at the initial meeting in Malaysia for the purpose of sharing resources and jointly organizing Scouting activities and programmes.
The two-day meeting was chaired by outgoing Chairman Dr. Azrul Azwar and the conference was declared open by the Senator and Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Education Honourable Mr. Siriwat Kraisin, accompanied by the Vice Governor of Chiang Mai Province. Senator and 2nd Vice Chairperson of Senate Committee Dr. Nareewan Chintakanond gave the keynote speech highlighting the readiness of Thailand to enter the ASARC community. Reports of the 3rd ASEAN Jamboree and the 2nd ASARC conference held in Indonesia in 2008 were presented.
Second Vice Chairman of the Regional Scout Committee Prakorb Mukura and Regional Director Abdullah Rasheed briefed on the ways ASARC, as a sub regional group, could support the development of Scouting in non-member countries.
Key Scout leaders of all seven ASARC member countries were present led by Chief Commissioners including the Chief Scout of Malaysia Dato Dr. Shafie Salleh. In addition, Vietnam was represented by the key leaders of the two scouting groups, which are currently operating in Vietnam. The leaders agreed to support establishing Scouting in Laos with the help of Cambodia and Thailand will support Vietnam. Efforts of Scouts Australia in supporting Timor Leste was highlighted.
The key leaders also agreed to organize within the next two years more youth activities among the ASARC countries, youth roundtable gatherings, Rover Moot and COMDECA. They also agreed to hold another Leader Training Course following the first course held in Indonesia last November. Another resolution is to organize a workshop on the concept and working model of school-based Scouting to be hosted by Malaysia and the development of Scout properties to be hosted by the Philippines.
For the next three years, the conference endorsed the nomination of the Chief Commissioner of Malaysia Dato Shahrum as the new Chairman of ASARC with Mr Sutham Phanthusak as the Treasurer. The conference also adopted its logo, its membership badge and agreed that all members of the ASARC to wear the badge on their Scout uniform. The conference also agreed to hold the next ASARC conference in the Philippines in 2015.