NEAT Working Group on
East Asian Socio-Cultural Connectivity
Socio-Cultural Connectivity is an important factor in building East Asian Community as East Asia is a region of great social and cultural diversity. Further understanding of social and cultural diversity and a common vision for community is needed for the coordination of political economic interests within the region. There has been a great tendency towards developing a humanistic regional community through increasing socio-cultural exchanges in the process of building an East Asian Community that places enhanced importance on shared ideas and identity.
The spirit of socio-cultural community was enshrined in the 1998 ASEAN Plus Three Summit including statements on Asian identity, human exchanges, mutual cultural understanding, and so on. The East Asia Vision Group II (EAVG II) proposes the establishment of an Asian version of UNESCO, to foster education and science and ensure the preservation of historic sites and the rich cultural heritage of the East Asian region. A major challenge it confronts today is that cultural institutional networking lags behind expectations.
Recalling this spirit, the Network of East Asian Think-Tanks (NEAT) recognized the importance of building an East Asian socio-cultural community at the 2004 annual conference and the necessity of building East Asian identity at the 2005 annual conference. NEAT has organized a number of working groups to deal with general issues of cultural exchange and explore various ways to enhance cultural exchange in East Asia. The working groups, five led by NEAT Korea and one by NEAT Japan, have made practical policy recommendations on key areas of cultural cooperation in East Asia. Avaluable output of the working groups is a broadened consensus on the necessity of cultural institutional networking in East Asia.
A network of socio-cultural institutions is of particular concern given the existing imbalanced progress in comparison with economic and political-security cooperation. There should be an institutional arrangement to project a new vision and policy recommendation over the longer period beyond segmented exchange programs in the region. There are increasing demands for regional arrangements for institutional connectivity in the socio-cultural sector by facilitating discussions and shared identity in a harmonious way.
The NEAT Working Group Meeting on ‘East Asian Socio-Cultural Connectivity: Building an Institutional Network’ was organized by NEAT Korea at the Yonsei University Wonju Campus, Korea on July 20, 2018 with the presence of 17 representatives from ASEAN Plus Three (APT). This report strives to put forward policy proposals on strengthening socio-cultural connectivity through an institutional network in APT countries while it presents major points discussed during the meeting.
For the full text of the report, click here.