US-ASEAN Business Council Offers Condolences on Passing of the Honorable Matthew J. Matthews, U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam

The US-ASEAN Business Council Board of Directors, members and staff convey deepest condolences to the Matthews family, the U.S. Embassy in Brunei and the broader American diplomatic corps, and the ASEAN community on the passing of the Honorable Matthew J. Matthews, U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam. Ambassador Matthews died on May 20.

"I am deeply and personally saddened by the loss of Ambassador Matt Matthews, who we are proud to consider a friend and supporter of the Council” said Alexander C. Feldman, Chairman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “Ambassador Matthews had a big and positive impact on ASEAN, APEC, and of course, though cut short, Brunei.”

Ambassador Matthews joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1986 and throughout his distinguished 34-year career, served two tours in Beijing, two tours in Taipei, Canberra, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Washington, DC. He rose steadily through the ranks, serving as the Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 2007 to 2010, Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong from 2010 to 2013, as the Foreign Policy Advisor to Admiral Locklear, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command from 2013 to 2015, as Ambassador for APEC and concurrently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands from 2015 to 2019, before starting in his tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam in March 2019.

“I worked with Ambassador Matthews when he was just Matt Matthews and a China expert, and when I was Ambassador for APEC, and he was the Economics Counselor in Canberra during the Australian APEC year. Matt showed us some tremendous wineries in South Australia as well as being the best counterpart I could have had at that time,” said Amb. Michael Michalak, USABC Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director. “When Matt became APEC Ambassador himself, we had frequent contact and shared many experiences which continued when he was posted in Brunei and visited Singapore. He was a fantastic colleague, a good and constant friend, and an asset to the Department of State. He can never be replaced, and he will surely be greatly missed by all who knew him in or out of the Department.”

Ambassador Matthews, together with his team at the U.S Embassy in Brunei, extended valuable support for the Council’s participation in the 41st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry in Bandar Seri Begawan in October 2019. Most recently, the Council also sought his support during the 23rd Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Ministers in Brunei in January 2020.

During his service in the Sultanate, Ambassador Matthews was an active supporter of U.S.-ASEAN educational programs such as the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and the 2019 Fulbright U.S-ASEAN Visiting Scholars Program—helping to develop the leadership capabilities of youth in Brunei Darussalam and increasing mutual understanding between Bruneians and Americans. Additionally, he oversaw development of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMPEAGA), as well as the first ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise in September 2019.

The Council is forever grateful for Ambassador Matthews’ friendship and leadership. We will always remember his contributions to the U.S business community and the advancement of the U.S.-Brunei economic relationship, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his beloved wife, Lin Matthews, and their two children.

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For over 35 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 membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. 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.