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The first day of East Asia Forum by the World Economic Forum began with prep. meeting with the Forum staff, for  the private session where I was to serve as one of the discussion leaders.  While I was waiting at the networking area, I ran into my friend from university with whom I was to do the panel together.  The reunion was after a decade or so and I am delighted that EA Forum brought us together.  I was also interviewed by the Myanmar TV crew.  (In fact, I was told by my friend that he saw me on TV!)

My meeting agenda in the morning on the first day included a private meeting with the Minister Mari Pangestu of Indonesia.  I had known the Minister for some time as we worked together on the Competitiveness council etc.. (In fact, she is one of the people I most admire among global leaders for her expertise, quiet and at the same time, very articulate style of communication.)   This time,  the agenda was not on competitiveness of economy, but  it was a bit different.  She noticed that I now teach at Graduate School of Media Design and tried to explore the possibility of collaboration, as she is in charge of the Tourism and Creative Economy.  I explained what we do at KMD and also learned many things from her.  (She has done so much research and has extensive knowledge on this issue.)

The afternoon was spent for a series of private sessions on ASEAN and Myanmar.  The session on ASEAN integration was very interesting with superb speakers.  Following the panel by the  business people from Myanmar, the session on developing Myanmar labor market began.  I was one of the discussion leaders and we brainstormed about the specific recommendations for the government and for the foreign companies in developing labor market in Myanmar.  I felt that report back from five groups had many factors that were common.

The session was followed by the reception and the first day ended for me.  I was debating whether I should go to the reception held at one of the hotels I was invited, as I realized that the transportation between hotels is not that easy.  But my another friend I ran into while waiting (whom I met in Tokyo last summer) convinced me to go.  (I am easy to be convinced!)

So quite a few of us went to the reception.  I met with more old friends and new people, while enjoying wine from Myanmar.  It was interesting as I found some common friends and identified good possibility of collaboration. Thus the first day ended.

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