The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) was born in 1967 and will soon mark its half-century. Ubiquitous is the rallying call for the year 2015 as a turning point for Asean's integration as a community. News about the Asean Economic Community (AEC) seems to be all around us _ on television, posters and mass transit adverts. Yet, the whole process begs the question: how does Asean as a 10-member regional organisation contribute to the lives of its people, including its youth?
Globally, the age threshold for youth is between 15 and 24 years of age and it is recognised that over 80% of the world's youth live in developing countries. An Asean official recently noted that some 60% of Asean's people are younger than 35, and this underlines the importance of Asean's commitment to and programming for this group.
There is some encouraging news. Under the blueprint attached to the Asean Socio-cultural Community, there are 15 youth-related actions targeted for launch by the year 2015, including the setting up of an Asean youth peace corps, a forum on youth entrepreneurship and a regional network to train out-of-school youths.