Dr. Surin Pitsuwan

SURIN PITSUWANis Secretary-General, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Dr Pitsuwan is a native of Nakorn Sri Thammarat, Southern Thailand. After finishing school in Thailand he was awarded an American Field Service exchange student scholarship to go to Minnesota, USA, from 1967-1968.  He received his B.A. in Political Science (cum laude) in 1972 from Claremont Men’s College, California; his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. Dr. Pitsuwan taught political science at Thammasart University from 1978-1983 and 1984-1986. He was a Congressional Fellow (1983-1984) and he interned with US Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-New York), who later became the Vice Presidential Candidate for the Democrat Party in 1984.   On his return he entered politics and in 1986 he was elected as a member of parliament for Nakorn Sri Thammarat, and has been returned to Parliament 8 times since then. He served in various capacities in parliament and government before being appointed as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (1992-1995).  He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997-2001. He served as Chair of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and the Chair of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1999-2000. In 2001, after he left government, Dr. Pitsuwan was appointed a member of the Commission on Human Security of the United Nations.  He also served in several other international capacities: advisor to the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty from 1999-2001; the ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization until 2004; currently on the Advisory Board of the UN Human Security Trust Fund; the Advisory Board of the International Crisis Group (ICG); the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York; International Academic Advisor of the Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University; advisor to the Leaders Project, a conference arm of the Cohen Group. Between 2002 and 2004, Dr. Pitsuwan was a member of the “Wise Men Group” under the auspices of the Henri Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC) in Geneva, advising the peace negotiations between the Acehnese Independence Movement (GAM) and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.  He was a member of the Islamic Development Bank’s 1440 A.H. (2020) Vision Commission in 2005. Dr. Pitsuwan was a Deputy Leader of the Democrat Party, Thailand.  He also served on the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), charged with bringing peace and security back to Thailand’s “deep South.”