Philippine Ambassador hosts first luncheon meeting with Asia 11 group of Diplomatic Heads of Mission for 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand
As part of the Philippine Embassy’s engagement with the Asia 11 Heads of Diplomatic Mission and in carrying out her role as Chairperson of the Asia 11 Group, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted the first luncheon for 2015 at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence) in Wellington. Together with Singapore High Commissioner H.E. Peter Chan, High Commissioner of Pakistan, H.E. Zehra Akbari, Ambassador of Indonesia H.E. Jose Tavares, Thai Ambassador H.E. Maris Sangiampongsa, Ambassador of Timor Leste H.E. Cristiano da Costa, they met and interacted with the invited guests, Mr. John Luxton, Chairman and Dr. Andrew Butcher, Director for Research of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
The Asia 11 Group, set up in 2011, is composed of Heads of Mission of the six ASEAN countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam and from Japan, China, Korea, India and Pakistan who meet regularly once a month over lunch or dinner hosted on a rotational basis. The host can invite a guest speaker to interact with the Heads of Mission and take up matters of mutual interest.
Ambassador Benavidez warmly welcomed the Asia 11 Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Mr. Luxton and Dr. Butcher to “Ang Bahay” where Filipino ambience, hospitality and cuisine contributed to active conversations and meaningful discussions on the ASEAN New Zealand Foundation’s continuing collaborative efforts to strengthen awareness, understanding and linkages of New Zealand with each of the Asia 11 countries and other parts of Asia.
Ambassador Benavidez invited Mr. John Luxton who shared valuable insights and updates on the continuing crucial role of the Asia Foundation in building people to people links as it enters the third decade of helping New Zealand forge closer relations with Asia as well as the important roles of DairyNZ especially in the continuing research and development in pasteur, farm systems and genetics, among others and key developments in the dairy industry of New Zealand. These elicited active interest and several positive feedback from the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the Asia 11 Group. She thanked Mr. Luxton, Dr. Butcher and the Asia 11 group members for their presence and participation which provided the perfect match for the continuing close collaboration and valued partnership between the Asian countries and New Zealand.
It was a productive and meaningful luncheon meeting which served as a valuable opportunity to foster camaraderie and goodwill among the Asia 11 Group members, a useful forum for interacting with various invited speakers on a broad range of subjects and a worthwhile event for exchange of views, ideas and comments and discussion on subjects that are of interest to the members in a relaxed, congenial and welcoming setting.