Innovation, Regional Cooperation to Take the Spotlight in Mekong Forum 2018
Jul 20, 2018

Innovation and regional cooperation are the central themes in this year’s Mekong Forum, an annual gathering of opinion leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) organized by Mekong Institute (MI), an intergovernmental organization working in human resource development based in Khon Kaen, Thailand. The Forum, which is set for August 3, 2018 at Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, Khon Kaen, Thailand, expounds on the theme: Turnarounds and Takeoffs: Speeding Up Competitiveness and Connectivity in the GMS.

“In this year’s forum, we will strive to answer how innovation can be harnessed, what kind of strategic policy and incentives we can use to promote innovation, and how development cooperation can improve the connectivity of the people in the region,” explains MI’s Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath.

This year’s Mekong Forum is the sixth since MI began hosting the one-day event in 2011. “The Mekong Forum is a milestone event both for MI and the development actors in the GMS. It is an occasion for networking, linkaging, and sharing of ideas and solutions that can help realize the development goals and aspirations of the region,” Dr. Leelawath further added.

Mekong Forum 2018 will feature discussion sessions that will focus on the three central ideas of this year’s theme: challenges in the growth momentum of the GMS; initiatives and mechanisms to scale-up competitiveness through innovation; and harnessing development cooperation strategies to promote strengthened regional connectivity.

Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, former Minister of Energy and Minister of Commerce of Thailand, is this year’s keynote speaker, while Mr. Kensuke Tanaka, head of the Asia Desk of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is delivering a special address. Joining them as session speakers are experts from the government, academe, business and civil society and development cooperation agencies, working in and outside the GMS.

Mekong Forum 2018 is made possible through the support of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Open Development Initiative (ODI), Thai Smile, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

About Mekong Forum

Initiated by Mekong Institute, the Mekong Forum:
• Brings together opinion leaders to discuss the most pressing issues in the GMS;
• Engages multiple stakeholders in collaborative efforts to shape the development agenda of the region; and
• Serves as a platform for interaction, dialogue and networking among scholars, business and government leaders and development experts and practitioners.

Mekong Institute has successfully organized five Mekong Forums in the past. Previous forums have offered discussions on topics such as narrowing the development disparities between nations in the GMS and ASEAN; modernizing the GMS in light of the post-ASEAN Economic Integration; the role of development partners in the region; and the challenges and mechanisms to respond to the new geo-economics.

About Mekong Institute

Mekong Institute is an intergovernmental organization that is owned and operated by the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) that it serves namely Cambodia, P.R. China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Our mission is to provide capacity development services and products that enhance regional development cooperation and integration. For more information, visit

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Media Contact
Joclarisse Albia, Communications Coordinator
(+66) 43 202 4112 Ext 1204
Mekong Institute

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution