“The evolution of regional culture, religious ethics and social education serves as a background to create national identities in ASEAN countries and a pre-requisite for forming an integrated ASEAN community. This project investigates the way in which cultural characteristics in South East Asia were established and developed. It discusses the linkages between local cultures and transnational cultures and helps to create transnational understanding of not only the points of difference, but also the aspects of similarity between the cultures of ASEAN nations. A major conference with participants from ASEAN on 7–8 March 2013 at UNU-ISP, brought together experts from all 10 ASEAN Member States and the Dialogue Partners (the United States, India, Australia, the Republic of Korea, China, New Zealand, Russia, the EU and Japan) to present papers. Observers, including academics, diplomats, civil society and private sector representatives, and the media, were invited to comment on the experts’ papers. The papers submitted to the symposium will be revised taking into account the comments and feedback received at the conference.