Jalan Sudirman in Jakarta last month teemed with young people from all across Southeast Asia.
More than 3,000 people from Indonesia and other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations converged on that street in the capital for the ASEAN Youth Expo (AYE) 2014.
The purpose of the three-day event, organisers said, was to engage, empower, motivate and mobilise young people to unite as the regional bloc prepares for economic integration into the ASEAN Economic Community next year.
"All the participants or delegates will take part and contribute to their big dreams as ASEAN youth and foster great unity [among] ASEAN countries," according to an excerpt from the exposition's mission statement.
The Indonesian Youth and Sports Ministry hosted the event organised by On That Point Institute of Artistic Speaking (OTPIAS), a Jakarta-based group promoting freedom of expression.
"We have to equip all the youths with … knowledge, [and] strong and excellent communication skills, because they will be the pioneers in achieving [its] main vision … as a firm and solid community," Youth and Sports Minister Roy Suryo said in an expo speech about ASEAN's economic integration.
The expo, which ended August 10th, featured opportunities for participants to get job and career coaching and learn about scholarships. It also featured workshops and cultural booths showcasing food, traditional dress and music from each of ASEAN 's 10 nations.
Bryan Gunawan, 25, the expo's supervisor and OTPIAS head, said as many as 1,350 Indonesian youths applied to staff the event as volunteers. Forty-one delegates from other ASEAN countries also participated.
"Each [person] will have a direct [opportunity to interact and] discuss various issues in the region and to offer some solutions," Bryan told Khabar Southeast Asia.
"With this event, we would like to educate the delegates to not only criticise but also to offer solutions for our governments. We also would initiate to do something on our own to support a better community ."
Aryo Moedanton, 24, an expo project officer, chimed in. "By gathering ASEAN youths in AYE 2014," he said, "we hope this chance could create discussions and ignite creative ideas for turning concepts into real action for a better ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 ."