05 December 2017
During his tenure as ASEAN secretary general Pitsuwan worked hard to transform the image of ASEAN as a purely government driven organization and make it more responsive to the needs of the peoples. Although the ASEAN Charter, signed in 2007, contained various principles which would make ASEAN into a truly people-centered and people-driven regional community, it was not easy for Pitsuwan to change ASEAN’s culture.
He was often invited to speak in forums organized by civil society groups where he would underline the need for ASEAN countries to strive for democracy and respect human rights, but at times he was rebuked for his activism by the representatives of ASEAN member states.
ASEAN’s journey to become a prosperous and truly sharing and caring community as well as a political and security community in which there is not only peace between states, but also peace within states, is still long and fraught with various dangers and obstacles. Khun Surin’s untimely passing has deprived us of a great and visionary regional leader and ASEAN’s most prominent spokesman.
… Dewi Fortuna Anwar is a research professor at the Center for Political Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2P-LIPI), Jakarta, and distinguished visiting professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 06/12/2017