Celebrating ASEAN Unity and Diplomatic Relations in Athens: A Commemoration of Shared Values


The Indonesian Embassy in Athens played host to a momentous event, marking the 56th commemoration of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. This celebration carried extra significance as it aligned with Indonesia's role as the current chair of ASEAN, and also coincided with the activities of the ASEAN Committee in Athens (ACAT), uniting Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Diplomatic luminaries and government officials of Greece gathered at the Ambassador's Residence to honor this occasion. Among the esteemed guests was the Guest of Honor, Mme. Maira Myrogianni, Secretary-General of Economy of Greece Foreign Ministry, along with foreign ambassadors from ASEAN partner countries.

Ambassador Bebeb A.K. Nugraha Djundjunan, the Indonesian representative in Greece, eloquently underlined ASEAN's crucial role as a regional bastion of peace, safety, and prosperity, navigating the intricate landscape of multidimensional challenges and global geopolitical dynamics. The ambassador emphasized that ASEAN, boasting a population of 679 million and a collective GDP of US$3.6 trillion, continues to evolve as a forward-looking, promising, and dynamic economic partner on the global stage.

In a significant development leading up to the event, Greece's Foreign Minister signed the Instrument of Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) on August 3, 2023. The treaty was designed to forge closer ties between ASEAN and Greece, fostering concrete avenues such as media and forums to bolster people-to-people connections and catalyze trade and economic collaboration.

Secretary-General Mme. Maira Myrogianni lauded ASEAN as pivotal partners in Greece's diverse sectors, specifically in trade, investment, maritime affairs, and cultural exchanges. Greece's commitment to elevating its bilateral relationships with ASEAN members was underscored by the robust growth in trade. According to UN Comtrade, the bilateral trade volume between ASEAN and Greece in 2022 reached a noteworthy US$1.7 billion, reflecting a remarkable 5.77% increase compared to the previous year.

Beyond diplomatic deliberations, the ASEAN Day celebration provided a splendid platform to showcase the rich cultural tapestry of ASEAN member nations. Culinary delights took center stage, with each country presenting its national delicacies, including mouthwatering meatballs, tantalizing mud cakes, delectable spring rolls, and the iconic pad thai. The event also featured a captivating Ratoh Jaroe Dance performed by the Friends of Indonesia in Greece, symbolizing the harmony, coordination, and unity that bind the ASEAN community.

The commemoration of ASEAN Day in Athens was a testament to the enduring ties between Southeast Asia and Greece, underscoring the commitment to mutual growth, cultural exchange, and diplomatic collaboration. As the echoes of this celebration reverberate, it serves as a reminder of the enduring spirit of cooperation that continues to thrive across borders and unite nations.

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