In Focus : Official Launch of the International Studies Centre (ISC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs news3

In Focus : Official Launch of the International Studies Centre (ISC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On 5 September 2019, H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, presided and delivered opening remarks at the official launch ceremony of the International Studies Centre (ISC), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand. The event was attended by former and current members of the diplomatic corps, and representatives of research institutions, members of the academic community, and press.
 
During his opening remarks, the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand stated that the original International Studies Centre was founded in 1987. The re-launch of the ISC has been prompted by today’s dramatically changing global and regional landscape. He referred to the escalating tensions between major and regional powers, rapid technology advancements, as well as a number of non-traditional threats and challenges. The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand stressed the need for partnerships focused on sustainability as a means to address these issues. Sustainability is the core of Thailand’s national strategy “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” has been adopted as the theme for Thailand’s Chairmanship of ASEAN this year. The ISC is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Think Tank Unit which supports the Ministry’s Track 1.5 and Track 2 mechanism. The ISC will forge links with the existing network of national and international think-tanks and institutes, affiliated experts from multiple fields, including academics, policy-makers, diplomats or members of civil society in order to exchange ideas and provide inputs for Thailand’s foreign policy-making.  
 
After the official launch ceremony, Associate Professor Simon Tay, a prominent independent scholar from the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) delivered a special lecture on “ASEAN Centrality and Regional Balance in a Time of Sino-American Tensions: What Can Be Done?”. Following analysis of the on-going tensions between China and the United States, Associate Professor Tay assessed the impact of this phenomenon on ASEAN countries and the region. He highlighted the importance of maintaining ASEAN centrality, particularly in view of initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Indo-Pacific, and stressed the importance for ASEAN to maintain its integrity and sovereignty by having common stance without taking sides with any major power. 
 
The International Studies Centre is affiliated with the Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Mr. Anuson Chinvanno is the current director of the Centre. The ISC plans to organise national and international conferences and seminars involving the public, private, and academic sectors, to carry out research/studies on various issues which can be beneficial to Thailand’s foreign policy and foreign affairs, to cooperate with other similar organisations and institutions, both in Thailand and abroad, in promoting the study of international affairs and to publish the results of the Centre's studies and other materials for dissemination, to promote trust and confidence, peace and stability for Thailand and the region as a whole.