US-ASEAN Business Council presents first Lifetime Achievement Award to Lee Kuan Yew

(Washington, D.C.) The US-ASEAN Business Council presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore during a black-tie celebration of the Council's 25th anniversary held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, D.C. this evening. Luminaries from the foreign policy, government, academic, and business communities gathered to honor both the Council and Minister Mentor Lee on their achievements. Speakers included former U.S. Secretaries of State Dr. Henry Kissinger and Dr. George P. Shultz, United Technologies Chairman George David, Senator Jim Webb, Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on the Foreign Relations Committee, and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell. Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush added their congratulations to the Council and Minister Mentor Lee via video.

The dinner celebrated the past and future of the US-ASEAN Business Council, which after 25 years has risen to become the premier advocacy organization for American business in Southeast Asia. The nearly 100 companies which comprise the Council posted combined revenue in 2008 of nearly $5 trillion. Council members include 7 of the Fortune 10, 20 of the 30 Dow Jones Component Companies, and have been the driving force behind American investment in Southeast Asia. The anniversary dinner saw representatives from 28 sponsoring companies gathered alongside major figures in foreign policy to reaffirm their commitment to ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations].

The Council is also the only U.S. organization mentioned specifically in the ASEAN Charter, and the only organization privileged to lead delegations of U.S. companies to participate in the annual meetings of the ASEAN economic and finance ministers. During the Council's 25 year working relationship with ASEAN, US-ASEAN trade has increased nearly seven-fold to reach approximately $180 billion annually. ASEAN itself has doubled in membership, reached nearly 600 million in population, and raised its collective GDP from $2.2 billion to nearly $1.4 trillion.

For its first Lifetime Achievement award, the Council chose to honor His Excellency Lee Kuan Yew, the Minister Mentor and First Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore. Minister Mentor Lee was also instrumental in the founding and evolution of ASEAN. "While serving as Prime Minister of Singapore from 1965-1990, Minister Mentor Lee built a remarkable network of relationships, the breadth and depth of which is evident from the crowd that has gathered here tonight," said Council President Alexander Feldman.

"It is an honor to attend this event recognizing the achievements of H.E. Lee Kuan Yew, and the tremendous importance of trade and commercial ties between the United States and Southeast Asia," said Senator Jim Webb, Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs on the Foreign Relations Committee. "The work of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and the commitment of the United States to engage with ASEAN nations are of fundamental strategic, economic, and political importance to our national foreign policy and security."

Former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz spoke glowingly about the accomplishments of Minister Mentor Lee, saying, "Ideas, information, clarity of mind, integrity of purpose: Lee Kuan Yew has all of these characteristics and many more. He is a truly great man who has been a wonderful friend over many years."

The highlight of the evening came when former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger introduced the Minister Mentor himself. Council President Alexander Feldman presented the Council's First Lifetime Achievement Award to Lee Kuan Yew, a framed collection of personalized business cards from CEO's, Chairmen, and President's of Council Member Companies.

In his remarks, Minister Mentor Lee spoke at length on the strategic situation in East Asia, saying, "To remain at the centre of East Asia's economic and political evolution, ASEAN must integrate more closely and with urgency." On the role of the United States, he added, "In building any new East Asian architecture, the U.S. must be an important part of it...whatever the challenges, U.S. core interest requires that it remain the superior power in the Pacific."

Council President Alexander Feldman closed the event by urging those present to continue to focus on building the U.S. relationship with Southeast Asia. "As we look toward the future," Feldman said, "Let us take inspiration from Lee Kuan Yew, and continue to adapt to the changing needs of a world in which ASEAN will play an ever more important role. If we do, we will stand here on the Council's fiftieth anniversary and speak of a dynamic ASEAN that has become the largest overseas market for American goods and services."

The event was sponsored by Council members Chevron, The Coca-Cola Company, ConocoPhillips, C.V. Starr Foundation, ExxonMobil, and Peregrine, as well as Caterpillar, Fluor, Ford, Freeport McMoRan, The Hills' Companies, Lockheed Martin, Pfizer, Procter and Gamble, Raytheon, United Technologies Corporation, ACE INA, APL, Black & Veatch, Boeing, Bunge, Dell, General Electric, GlaxoSmith Kline, Guardian Industries, IBM, Mars, McLarty Associates, and Oracle. Las Vegas Sands, VT Systems, and Carlyle also sponsored.


Since 1984, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for U.S. corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership of nearly 170 companies generates almost US$7 trillion in revenue and employs more than 14.5 million people.  Today our members include the largest U.S. companies conducting business in ASEAN and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for more than 100 years. The Council has nine offices around the globe, in Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; and Yangon, Myanmar.