US-ASEAN Business Council Mourns the Passing of Dr. Surin Pitsuwan

(Bangkok) Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, the former Secretary-General of ASEAN (2008-2012), accomplished statesman, humanitarian, and friend, passed away at the age of 68 on Thursday, November 30 in Bangkok from a heart attack. The US-ASEAN Business Council and its members offer their sincere condolences to his family, friends, and the people of Thailand and of ASEAN on this sad and unexpected occasion. Dr. Surin also served as Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and several other senior political roles, and was dedicated to strengthening and deepening the U.S.-Thai relationship.

As Secretary-General, Dr. Surin worked tirelessly to realize the region’s human, economic, and strategic potential. He believed deeply in ASEAN as a platform to unify Southeast Asia’s diverse communities for the collective good, and made as much progress towards that goal as anyone else in history. His focus was not just intra-regional; he was also dedicated to building ASEAN’s relationship with the rest of the world. He presided over the United States’ accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and its entry into the East Asia Summit in 2011, and was always generous in working with the US-ASEAN Business Council and its members to strengthen economic engagement.

“Dr. Surin Pitsuwan’s legacy will live on. He believed in the promise of ASEAN and the U.S.-ASEAN relationship. ASEAN has never had a better advocate than Surin Pitsuwan,” said Alexander Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “He knew ASEAN inside and out; he knew where ASEAN could go, and most importantly he was a great marketer for the region, a role that continued after his formal service as ASEAN’s Secretary-General ended.”

The Council learned of Dr. Surin’s passing just before hosting Board of Directors’ dinner in Singapore commemorating ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary and the 40th Anniversary of U.S.-ASEAN relations. The attendees joined in a moment of silence, reflecting on his accomplishments and vision. Dr. Surin lived a life whose positive impact will be felt for generations to come in ASEAN and around the world.

 

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For more than 30 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's 150+ membership generates over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.