MI has come a long way, expressed Dr. Tej Bunnag, Assistant Secretary-General for Administration, Thai Red Cross Society, and honorary advisor to the Mekong Institute, in his keynote address.
The Mekong Institute (MI), an intergovernmental organization owned and governed by the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries, celebrated its 15th year of operation in a commemorative event in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last June 27, 2012. The GMS countries comprise of Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces of PR China.
During his welcome speech, MI Council Chairman, H.E. Mr. Ngo Hongly 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, expressed in her keynote 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 comprised 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.
In attachment to the 15th Anniversary celebration, several stakeholder meetings were organized. That same day, a meeting with coordinating agents was held to strengthen each countrys involvement in organizing and setting-up MI courses due to new shifts to multi-year projects from stand alone programs. Moreover, on the 28th of June, MIs Steering Committee and Council Members met in back to back meetings in order to find better ways to facilitate the integration of the GMS into the ASEAN Community 2015.
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.
At the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Mekong Institute, an exhibit on its historical milestones was displayed.
During the reception dinner, Khmer traditional dances were performed.