Pattaya Daily News

06 January 2008 :: 17:01:45 pm 29288

Surin to Formally Take Up Asean Secretary-General Post Monday

BANGKOK, Jan 6 -- Thailand's former foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan will formally take up his post as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) secretary-general in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Monday, a senior Thai Foreign Ministry official said.
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Withavat Srivihok, director-general of the ASEAN Affairs Department, said about 150 senior ASEAN officials and diplomats would witness the event.

Mr. Surin, a former member of the Democrat Party, Thailand’s oldest political party, will become the second Thai citizen to take up the ASEAN secretary-general post after Pan Wannamethee, currently secretary-general of the Thai Red Cross and former senior Foreign Ministry officer.

But Mr. Surin will be the first Thai politician to hold the ASEAN secretary-general post, said Mr. Withavat, adding he should receive better trust from international organizations and this would assist ASEAN to advance.

The 10 member nations of ASEAN in 2007 pledged to ratify the ASEAN Charter and this should further boost the role of the ASEAN secretary-general after it was implemented, Mr. Surin added. (TNA)

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Surin Pitsuwan

Surin Pitsuwan, born 28 October 1949) is a longtime Thai politician. He was born in Nakhon Si Thammarat, into an assimilated Thai family of Malay descent

Pitsuwan studied at Thammasat University, Thailand. He graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna 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 University, Cairo. Surin Pitsuwan earned a Master of Arts from Harvard University and did research at the American 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.

Surin Pitsuwan was elected Member of Parliament from Nakhon Si Thammarat for the first time in 1986 and became Secretary 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. Surin Pitsuwan was Chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum from 1999 until 2000.

In addition to his political career, he taught at Thammasart University and wrote for two English daily newspapers in Bangkok between 1980 and 1992. From 1983 until 1984, Surin Pitsuwan worked in the U.S. Congress as a Congressional Fellow, Congressional Fellowship Program, the Asia Foundation and the American Political Science Association (APSA), while at the same time teaching International Relations at the American University in Washington, D.C..

He was Academic Assistant to the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and later to the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at Thammasart University from 1985 until 1986. Surin Pitsuwan 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, the Thai cabinet unanimously endorsed the recommendation from the Thai Foreign Ministry for Surin Pitsuwan to be nominated as the Thai candidate to be the next Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He was confirmed by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers during their 40th annual meeting in Manila in July 2007. He will succeed the outgoing Ong Keng Yong from Singapore on January 1, 2008. His term of office is five years.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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