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Enhancing the friendship through tourism activities and the safeguarding cultural – historical heritage

On the 19th – 21st October 2018 in Siem Reap city, Kingdom of Cambodia, two attaching events were held, including The 24th annual Conference of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni Association (ASCOJA 24) and the 13th Symposium organized by the Association of Asia Japan Alumni (ASJA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The Japan Alumni of Vietnam Association sent a delegations to attend full the contents of the symposium and the conference.

Delegation to attend the ASCOJA 24 meeting

This is the first ASCOJA annual Conference to be held in Cambodia, a beautiful country with a long history of a great cultural identity called “the Kingdom of the Tower”, after 65 years of  establishment Diplomatic Relations with Japan and 41 years of ASCOJA.

The theme of the 13th ASJA-ASCOJA Symposium on “ASEAN-Japan Cooperation in the Safeguarding Historical Heritage” and ASCOJA 24 Conference “Strengthening the ASCOJA Relations through Tourism” are two closely linked and intimate themes. The activities of organizing this Conference and the Symposium have shown the special interest of the ASCOJA and Japanese leaders in the protection of cultural and historical heritages and tourism as an effective form of activity which aims to enhance understanding and solidarity between ASEAN and Japan in a flat world like today.

Representative of the Japan Government , Cambodia Government 

Association Presidents

The ASJA-ASCOJA Symposium on “ASEAN-Japan Cooperation in the Safeguarding Historical Heritage” was held in half a day before the ASCOJA 24 Conference and one after the Conference with important presentations that have shown the interests of organizations and individually scientists and administrators, as well as ways to carry out the preservation of the historical heritage that is specific to the system of temples and towers built in Cambodia since the 11th century, now stands at the risk of being harmed and damaged from many causes such as wear and tear over time, human abuse. On this topic, the 120-minute presentation by Dr. Yoshiaki Ishizawa from Sophia University brought emotion to the delegates by the long-standing dedication of him and associates to the study and practice on preservation and restoration of the Angkor heritage system in Cambodia.

 Delegation of JAV at the seminar

The second part of the Symposium was conducted after the Conference with presentation by Dr. Ly Vanna, Director of the APSARA (Association for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor) that highlighted the cooperation of management, restoration and conservation of Angkor buildings since the inception of this organization in 1995 and in the implementation of the five-year plan (2017-2022) between UNESCO, the Japanese government and the Cambodian government. In addition, presentations with rich content of delegates from Southeast Asian countries have shared many issues of preserving the cultural and historical heritage of their country. Some of the ideas and implementing methods have attracted great concern of the delegations such as: “The conservation and restoration of Cambodia’s cultural and historical heritage must be carried out by the Cambodian themselves, for the Cambodians”; “Safeguarding not only tangible but also the intangible heritage, not only the past but also the present such as the natural environment, the way of life”; “Implementing conservation with data acquisition system using 3D technology”… The delegation of the Japan Alumni of Vietnam Association participated with a presentation on “ASEAN Cooperation in Promoting Cultural-Historical Heritage tourism” by Dr. Vu Nam, Deputy Director of Tourism Marketing Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Dr. Vu Nam presented at the seminar

The official session of the ASCOJA 24 was held on the morning of October 20. With deep concern, H.E Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, H.E former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda both sent a congratulation conveying important messages to the ASCOJA 24, highlighting the powerful growth of the ASCOJA community and their deeply concern to the ASEAN-Japan relationship in which the role of heartfelt exchanges played by the ASCOJA members has been extremely important.  H.E Mr Kazunori Tanaka, Member of House of Representative of Japan and H.E Mr Lav Chiv Eav, Secretary of State, Representative of Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports delivered an important speeches at the Conference.

The Conference has spent much of time for the presentations of H.E Mr In Thoeun, former Director General of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, on “Tourism Development in Cambodia and Regional Tourism Cooperation”; H.E Mr Sok Sangvar, Deputy Director General of APSARA organization, on “Tourism Management in Angkor”. The presentations show that the management of tourism in Cambodia as well as the management and conservation of Angkor’s buildings have received special attention from the Government of Cambodia, UNESCO, and the Government of Japan and have been implemented under scientifically, effective. After the presentations, the chairmen of the Alumni Associations of  the Southeast Asian nations attended a seminar entitled “Promoting ASCOJA’s growth through Tourism”. The discussion took place with delegations’ dynamic and a lot of ideas and useful initiatives.

Discussion session at the Conference of Presidents of the Association

President Ngo Minh Thuy at the conference

The 24th ASCOJA General Assembly was also held with the very meaning sections that were Heritage tour to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon temples and planting trees at ASCOJA Park in front of the Banteay Kdei Temple with honor presence of H.E Mr. Environment Minister Say Samal. These are activities that contribute to the practicality of the issues that have been presented, discussed at the Conference and Symposium, and give delegates a tour to the valuable historic and cultural heritages of Cambodian nation.

Delegates participated in the tree planting program

In addition to the sessions of  Symposium and Conference, leaders of the ASCOJA’s Alumni Associations held two sessions to discuss upcoming tasks and activities. Further more, many exchange activities were also taken place by the Welcome Party and the reception of the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Japan in Cambodia. The closing ceremony was the Gala Dinner with the opening item was ceremony of handing over the ASCOJA flag and ASCOJA rotating presidency to Laos. Thus, from October 2018 to October 2019, the Japan  Alumni of Laos Association will assume the role of ASCOJA Chairman and will hold the ASCOJA 25 Conference.  On the Gala Dinner, the attenders also enjoyed many cultural performances of the host country as well as of the alumni associations of the countries. The delegation of JAV performed the choral song “Green Blue Canal” and “Cylindrical Drum”.

Association Presidents with Japanese Ambassador at the party

Delegation at the party of the Ambassador of Japan in Cambodia

Performed at the Gala

The active programs in Cambodia for four days were energetic and effective, implying great meaning in practically connecting the ASCOJA member associations as well as bringing people to consolidate a awareness of safeguarding historical and cultural heritage and enhancement of the understanding and solidarity between ASCOJA members and ASCOJA-Japan through cultural tourism activities. Thereby further enriching the activities of ASCOJA members. The delegation of JAV returned to Vietnam with many unforgetable impressions and memories of ASJA, ASCOJA and Cambodia, see you again at the ASCOJA 25 Conference in beautiful Laos.

Visiting Banteay Srei temple

Siem Reap Night Market

Enhancing the friendship through tourism activities and the safeguarding cultural – historical heritage
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