Schools Outreach talk at Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) by Centre Director Dr Yeo Lay Hwee, on 8 March 2010
Some 400 Secondary Four students from RGS gathered to hear Dr Yeo Lay Hwee’s lecture on the EU and ASEAN. She introduced the blocs and made a comparison of the two regional organisations- from the historical conditions leading to their formation to the differences in their institutional structures and organisational goals.
The six founding countries formed what is today the EU, now with 27 members, due to the destruction and damage caused by World War II. The move was aimed at stemming rising nationalism especially among the more powerful countries like Germany and France. ASEAN on the other hand, because of the history of colonialism in the region, was formed with nationalism as a rallying call. Regionalism was to support and strengthen nationalism and state-building.
ASEAN began with five countries and expanded to its current 10 countries. Dr Yeo compared the EU and ASEAN in terms of population, geographical area and the share of the world trade with countries like China, USA, Japan and the rest of the world. Eligibility of the countries to join the respective organisations was also explained.
After the presentation, the students participated actively in the question and answer session, asking questions on the current financial situation in Greece and clarifying their ideas about the EU.