50 years ASEAN

The programme for the 50th Anniversary celebration on the 6th of June 2017

ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary with exploreASEAN

Almost 50 years ago, on 8th August 1967 and in the middle of the proxy war in Vietnam, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded. The first 5 member states and consequently the founders of the community, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, signed a document called the ASEAN Declaration. Whereas one might assume that this document dealt with countless issues and details, it consisted of only 5, short and simple worded articles. Nonetheless, it laid down the fields of cooperation such as economics, culture, education, regional peace and stability and kept the door open for other Nations of Southeast Asia to join. The negotiations about this declaration between the Foreign Ministers of the 5 founding states took place in a beach resort a hundred kilometres southeast of Bangkok and were described as “informal” or as “sports-shirt diplomacy”. Despite their differing background, they successfully managed negotiations with “goodwill and good humour” and combined them with equal time on the golf course. 

More than 16 years after its foundation, in January 1984, ASEAN welcomed a sixth member, namely Brunei Darussalam, followed by Viet Nam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999. Since then, ASEAN consists of 10 member states. This is also shown on the ASEAN flag in the form of 10 stalks of Padi, a rice plant, “bound together in friendship and solidarity”.

exploreASEAN is looking forward to the opening ceremony of the special event dedicated to the 50th anniversary of ASEAN on the 6th of June 2017, starting at 03:30 pm at the FHNW in Olten. In addition, there will be an exhibition, lasting until 8th June 2017, in which you can learn about the culture of the ASEAN member states and the integration process of the association.

Please register to attend the event via e-mail to until the 26th of May 2017.


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