From Troubled Waters to the Mighty River
MI Council Members gather at the 15th Anniversary Celebration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on June 27, 2012.
In 15 years, MI has built a solid reputation as a pre-eminent GMS-based learning institute servicing the human resource development needs of a sub-region once ravaged by dire economic want and conflict. Through these years, MI has been intrinsically part of a dynamic process that saw Southeast Asia and the GMS countries rise to become one of the worlds most-watched growth areas. Throughout the growth process MIs has continuously adapted to meet the changing requirements of a region undergoing rapid changes while institutionally, MI has metamorphosed from a small development assistance program into a GMS inter-governmental organization (IGO).
Twenty years, after the GMS Cooperation Program laid the grounds for sub-regional connectivity and competitiveness through massive infrastructure projects, GMS leaders sounded the call to build on the gains of physical connectivity to further accelerate economic development and integration. Cooperation and integration perspectives have transcended sub-regional borders, seeking to bond more closely with its ASEAN neighbors.
Addressing stakeholders at the MI 15th Anniversary Celebration in June 2012, Steering Committee Chairman, Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee aptly described the GMS journey as one, from troubled waters to the mighty [Mekong] river.
MI Celebrates its Anniversary Phnom Penh, Cambodia
MI has come a long way, expressed Dr. Tej Bunnag, Assistant Secretary-General for Administration, Thai Red Cross Society, and honorary advisor to MI, in his keynote address at the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Mekong Institute held on June 27, 2012 at the Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
During his welcome speech, MI Council Chairman, H.E. Mr. Ngo Hongly, MI Council Chairman, ably cited, What makes MI unique is its emphasis on capacity building that enhances regional cooperation and connectivity; its learning programs are conducted with a regional perspective, and with multi-national participation, thus setting the opportunity for GMS trainees at MI to connect, build friendships and networks. After commending the organizations bright history, he concluded, The work of MI is not yet complete; much more has to be done, but today we pause to celebrate the successes of MI and the lessons learned through 15 years.
Ms. Amada Ellis, Deputy Secretary of Development for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of New Zealand, articulated that the commitment of New Zealand remains as strong as ever and it will continue to be a key partner in MIs development. She concluded, MI is yours. It belongs to the people of the region.
The event hosted around 50 guests, comprising of its Steering Committee and Council Members, as well as its development partners New Zealand Aid Programme, Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency, Asian Development Bank, United States Agency for International Development, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, etc. The event showcased an exhibit of its historical milestones, an awarding ceremony of its founding leaders, as well as various cultural performances.
As MI continues to grow and expand its reach, Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, MI Steering Committee Chairman, ably reminded everyone to think big as MI should direct itself to be a key institution that will contribute to Asian Economic Dynamism.