Prince Mohamed lauds Asean youth

His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Brunei's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, paid glowing tributes to the younger generation of the region and called them the embodiment of Asean's vision in an "Asean Day" message titled "Asean and Young People".

The full text of the message follows:

"The founding of Asean nearly forty years ago set a remarkable challenge for Southeast Asia's future generations. It encouraged them to live together in peace and understanding in a region that had long been in fearful turmoil.

"The first of these generations is now able to look back on its efforts to meet that challenge. Its members have already become the leaders of our region in all walks of life and they have brought it greater respect than ever before in international affairs. The second generation is in the process of inheriting their work and building on that of their predecessors.

"We are now looking at our third Asean generation.

"They are the theme of this year's Asean Day.

"Asean and Young People.

"It is a theme that should give us all great pleasure and pride. Our young people are the embodiment of Asean's Vision.

"In all Asean countries, they have now been given greater opportunities than any previous generation.

"They can expect to live longer, have a better standard of living, be better cared for, be more knowledgeable, be more confident about the future and be far more able to develop their talents both at home and in the world outside their country.

"In Brunei Darussalam, we regard this as our children's and grandchildren's birthright. It is a gift handed on to them by their own forefathers and by those who founded Asean. We hope they will value it, respect it and strengthen it so that they, too, will pass it on to their own children and grandchildren.

"I have every confidence that they will. The evidence I see and hear every day from our young people in Brunei Darussalam makes me proud of the way they are meeting the extremely difficult and very complex challenges that they are being asked to face in today's society.

"I trust their judgment. I believe it will always be based, as my own generation's life and work have been, on the collective wisdom of those who went before us.

"I thank them for the excellent contribution they have always made to our country and its development.

"As they themselves begin to meet the challenge set by Asean's founding fathers, I wish them great success and all the joys and anticipation, pleasure and simple fun that are the special right of young people everywhere." - Borneo Bulletin (8th Aug 2006)