Asean turns a new chapter
Dr. Surin Pitsuwan
Secretary General (Designate)
Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean)
was a decade ago when Surin Pitsuwan, as Thailand’s Foreign Minister,
took an unprecedented step to reform and revitalise Asean.
He took on
Asean’s non-interference doctrine, which he thought effectively blocked
the grouping to discuss and address regional crises caused by domestic
strife. At the Asean ministerial meeting in Manila in July 1999, Surin
proposed ‘flexible engagement’ to deal with problems which may be
internal affairs of a member country yet would have repercussions on
its neighbours and the entire region.
there were opposition from members who feared, without non-interference
policy, Asean would come apart at the seams. Ten years later,ur in’s
flexible engagement seems to ave found support as members have begun to
realise the need for Aseanto be more open to the promotion of human
rights and democracy.
charter, once endorsed and ratified, will see a meaningful integration
and enhance the group’s ability to deal with national problems
affecting the group. Surin, Asean’s incoming secretary general, has
made little comment so far on the immediate tasks awaiting him. Yet,
expectations are high Asean will be invigorated by the new charter and
the new chief at its helm.
Surin Pitsuwan: A brief profile
Born 28 October 1949, Surin Pitsuwan is a veteran Thai politician. He
studied at Thammasat University, Thailand. He graduated cum laude from
Claremont Men’s College, California, in political science in 1972.
From 1977 until
1980, he was a researcher for the Human Rights Studies Program, Thai
Studies Institute and the Ford Foundation, Thammasat University,
and from 1974 until 1978, he was a fellow of The Rockefeller Fellowship
Program, The Rockefeller Foundation, Harvard University and American
earned a Master of Arts from Harvard University and did research at the
Amer can University in Cairo as a scholar of the Institute of Higher
Council for Islamic Affairs of Egypt from 1975 until 1977 before
returning to Harvard, where he received a Ph.D. in 1982.
He was elected
Member of Parliament from Nakhon Si Thammarat for the first time in
1986 and became Secretay to the Speaker of the House of Representatives
the same year. In 1988, he was appointed Assistant Secretary to the
Minister of Interior.
From 1992 until
1995, he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs before becoming
Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1997, serving in this capacity until
2001. He was Chairman of the Asean Regional Forum from 1999 until 2000.
Surin is a
member of the Commission on Human Security, a member of the Advisory
Board of the International Commission on Intervention and State
Sovereignty, and a member of the World Commission on the Social
Dimension of Globalisation.
On June 18,
2007, Thai cabinet unanimously endorsed Surin as the candidate from
Thailand to be the next Secretary-General of Asean, and the Asean
meeting in Philippines in August subsequently designated him as the new
chief to succeed Ong Keng Yong from Singapore on January 1, 2008.
|List of Asean secretaries-general
||7 June 1976 - 18 Feb 1978
||19 Feb 1978 - 30 June 1978
|Datuk Ali Bin Abdullah
||10 July 1978 - 30 June 1980
|Narciso G. Reyes
||1 July 1980 - 1 July 1982
|Chan Kai Yau
||18 July 1982 - 15 July 1984
||16 July 1984 - 15 July 1989
||16 July 1986 - 16 July 1989
||17 July 1989 - 1 Jan 1993
||1 Jan 1993 - 31 Dec 1997
|Rodolfo C. Severino .
||1 Jan 1998 - 31 Dec 2002
|Ong Keng Yong
||1 Jan 2003 - present
<< Previous Next >>