KUWAIT, 9 August 2011, Nawara Fattahova, Staff Writer, Kuwait Times The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) commemorated the geo-political association's 44th anniversary at the Indonesian embassy yesterday. Each year the event is held at a different member country's embassy. The Indonesian Embassy played hosts to this year's event as the country holds presidency for the current year. Pg Haji Mustapa Bin Pg H Aliuddin, Ambassador of Negara Brunei Darussalam, Long Kern, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Ferry Adamhar, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, E Thongphachanfi Sonnasinh, Ambassador of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Mohiuddin Ghazali, Charge d Affairs of Malaysia, Ko Ko Latt, Ambassador of the Union of Myanmar, Shulan Primavera, Ambassador of the Philippines, Chet Derapattana, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand, and Biu Quoc Trung, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam gathered at the Indonesian Embassy to witness the historic moment of hoisting the ASEAN flag alongside the national flags of each ASEAN countries in honor of the 44th ASEAN anniversary. Recognizing the spirit of ASEAN, the Head of Mission of its member states in Kuwait, agreed to establish the ASEAN Community in Kuwait (ACK) on May 5, 2011. Ferry Adamhar, the Indonesian Ambassador, serves as the chairman. The hoisting of ASEAN flag alongside the respective national flags of other ASEAN member countries was agreed on at a meeting held with the committee of permanent representatives to ASEAN in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 27, 2011. Most members of ASEAN are also among the most productive labor- exporting countries. The domestic laborers have not been accorded any protection in the new Kuwaiti labor law. We hope that a new improved law will be passed along with the creation of a new sponsorship system. The Philippines is interested in protecting its workers. Also, the country has been exporting labor since the 1960s to Vietnam. We promote welfare," noted Shulan Primavera, Ambassador of the Philippines to Kuwait. Ferry Adamhar, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia highlighted that the ASEAN has adopted the 'no visa requirement policy' for member countries of ASEAN for two months. "We hope that visa-free travel will promote tourism. We will soon take a decision on introducing a common visa for foreign tourists to visit all countries instead of one only. They have not really reached a common consensus on adopting a unified currency," he said. Established on August 8, 1967, in Bangkok, Thailand, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has expanded to become an important regional organization not only in maintaining regional development and stability, but also in fostering closer collaboration in the regional and global arena. From an original membership of five member states namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, ASEAN has expanded to include ten member states. Brunei Darussalam joined on January 7, 1984, Vietnam on July 28, 1995, Lao People s Democratic Republic and Myanmar on July 23, 1997, and Cambodia on April 30, 1999. At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 13, 2007, the Head of States of ASEAN countries affirmed their commitment to accelerate the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. This ASEAN Community is based on three pillars, namely, the ASEAN Political-Security Community, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community. Overall, the ASEAN active collaboration is based on mutual cooperation in the fields of economic, social, cultural, technical, scientific and administrative. It also explores all avenues for closer cooperation with international organizations and countries around the world. As an economic entity, ASEAN consists of 600 million people and boasts a GDP of US$. 1.8 trillion. It also functions as a trading bridge between China, India, the Middle East and the Pacific. The flag hoisting is a symbol of ASEAN's commitment to community building efforts. The ACK will continue its effort to reach the vision of ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations. The ACK will also increase the mutually beneficial relationship between ASEAN and Kuwait, the host country being a strong economic potential partner to be explored, walking hand in hand towards the future of the ASEAN Community in 2015.