Asia has been growing in prominence in many ways over the recent decades, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plays an increasingly important role both in the region and in the global arena. As the official chair of ASEAN in 2013, Brunei Darussalam is on the centre stage, leading discussions and consultations among the ten member nations. To offer insight into and expertise about current perspectives on the global economy, LSE Enterprise was called to structure a customised executive education programme for government officials from across Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Concentrating on global issues and debates across a number of areas in international political economy, the programme also took into consideration the specifics of Brunei’s current development and the dynamics of its relations with ASEAN members and beyond. It was further tailored to address the important debates of emerging regional structures such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which are shaping the future of economic relations in the region and the interaction with other players across Asia and the Americas.
The programme was organised as a sequence of interactive lectures, game simulations, chaired talks and group presentations across six days, delivered in Bandar Seri Begawan. It covered a vast body of knowledge and expertise across economic and political diplomacy, also touching on strategic management and security dimensions. To link theory with practice, it included seasoned practitioner experts sharing relevant experiences, including Sir Colin Budd, Advisory Board member of LSE IDEAS, and Kenneth Heydon, visiting lecturer on Masters programmes at LSE’s Department of International Relations.
Designed specifically for mid-career officials, the programme was very well received both by the participants and organisers in terms of the content covered and how it helped them broaden their understanding of key issues. 'Very informative, resourceful, and educational', was one feedback comment. Another added that the course 'covers a variety of information – understanding what trade, leadership and crisis management are – and makes us think how this could apply to us as a nation and as an international community'. A further view emphasised that the programme helped 'better understand that collective effort is needed for the effective implementation of free trade agreements'.
'Our collaboration with Brunei’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade started last year, before Brunei took over as chair of ASEAN, to provide a training programme which helped prepare for such an important task,' said Yury Bikbaev, director at LSE Enterprise in charge of custom programmes. “It is particularly pleasing to see that it sparked more demand and we are called back to share more insight and expertise.”