This year marks the 15 years of the Boao Forum. This year’s theme is “Asia’s New Future: New Dynamics, New Vision”.
Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is a nongovernmental and nonprofit international organization with a fixed conference date and a fixed domicile. Proposed in 1998 by Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Philippines, Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Morihiro Hosokawa, former Prime Minister of Japan, BFA was formally inaugurated on February 27 2001. Boao, Hainan Province, China serves as the permanent site of BFA Headquarters. Since 2002, BFA has been holding its annual conference at Boao.
Although Asian countries have participated in many international conferences and organizations such as APEC and PECC, Asia as a whole lacks a forum that, led by Asians and guided from perspectives of Asian interests and views, can be dedicated to the discussion of Asian issues and aims at enhancing cooperation and exchanges among Asian countries, and between Asian countries and other parts of the world. Against this backdrop, in September 1998, former Filipino President Fidel V. Ramos, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa proposed the establishment of an Asian Forum, one similar to the World Economic Forum headquartered in Davos.
The idea of “Asian Forum”, once being put forward, was unanimous accepted by the related Asian countries. Against this backdrop, the Inauguration Ceremony of BFA was held Feb. 26-27 2001 in Boao, Hainan Province, China. Declaration of BFA and Guidelines of BFA Charter were adopted during the Ceremony.
15 full years have passed. What has Asia differed from 15 years ago? For one, the leaderships have changed. For instance, when it was inaugurated, the key Chinese leader behind the scene, former President Hu Jintao, was still Vice President. In general, we see a more prosperous Asia. Almost all Asian countries are under steady development albeit the GDPs are shrinking for some. Unlike many parts of the world, Asia’s economic problems are mostly caused by aging populations and are not politics related, which is definitely a very positive trend. You get aging populations in stable societies in that no one will die of wars and too many men made disasters. So there is nothing bad about aging. As they say in the Star Trek saga, live long and prosper. Asian are living the dreams of Vulcans. So long as we embrace aging together and with a positive attitude, a new economic paradigm will emerge from the collective efforts of these robust Asian countries.