More than 300 young people from ASEAN nations and Japan taking part in the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme (SSEAYP) 2013 are gathering at a festival in Singapore following earlier visits to Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

Opening the event on November 30, Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large with the Singapore Foreign Ministry, shared with the young representatives some of the challenges facing ASEAN countries and underlined their crucial role in the region.

The ambassador also emphasised the bloc’s efforts in seeking peaceful solutions to disputes and improving people-to-people diplomatic activities.

Sharifah Yokoyama, head of the Singapore delegation to the festival, said the SSEAYP offers participants a better understanding of different cultures and allows them to share their experience with friends from other countries.

During the festival, the young delegates, including 29 from Vietnam, will also attend exchanges related to the region’s environmental issues and distribute food to the poor in Singapore.

The ship serving the programme, the Nippon Maru, will anchor in the country until December 2.-VNA