The first-ever Model East Asia Summit (Model EAS) recently hosted by the US Embassy in Hanoi brought 33 high school and university students together to exchange ideas on policy issues that are relevant to and have a direct impact on Vietnamese youth.

Based on the popular American extracurricular activity Model United Nations, the Model EAS programme allows students to act as the head-of-state for one of the eighteen EAS countries to research the policies and interests of the assigned country on the management of the Mekong River and then debate, negotiate, and draft a resolution with other delegates during the one-day event.

The Model East Asia Summit allows students to showcase their public speaking ability, utilise their critical thinking skills to debate policy with their peers, and provides an opportunity to discuss the management of the Mekong River, said US Embassy Hanoi Spokesman Spencer Cryder.

The Vietnamese youth in attendance understand and are clearly up to the challenge of solving these complex regional issues, he added.

The delegates were divided into two simultaneously-running, separate committees, one for younger students and one for older students. They discussed the limits of national sovereignty, the role of the Mekong River Commission, international accountability, climate change, clean energy, and the merits of dam construction along the Mekong mainstream.

The students conducted the entire six-hour event in English.

The overarching goals of the Model EAS programme are to introduce students to the important role regional institutions like ASEAN, EAS, and the Lower Mekong Initiative play in solving complex regional and international issues, increase their interest in policy-making, and provide them a forum to practice their high-level English skills.-VNA