ASEAN pays tribute to late Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan hinh anh 1Late ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (Source: Xinhua/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – The ASEAN Secretariat and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) co-organised an event in Jakarta, Indonesia, on December 3 to commemorate late Surin Pitsuwa, who served as 12th ASEAN Secretary-General from 2008-2012.

The event attracted the participation of representatives from ASEAN nations and the bloc’s partners, together with Surin’s family members, close friends, and scholars, who highlighted his pivotal role in raising the profile and prominence of the regional organisation on the international stage.

In his own tribute to the late ASEAN Secretary-General, the current and 14th ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi said “Indeed, Dr. Surin has left behind an indelible mark on the pages of ASEAN’s history. He altered the political landscape of ASEAN, particularly in some of its most difficult moments. He was determined to see that everything ASEAN does would benefit the ordinary citizens.” 

Dato Lim added, “Dr. Surin was a strong supporter of ASEAN economic integration, always believing in the region’s inherent dynamism to contribute to the global economy.”

One of Surin’s profound marks in the ASEAN community was his advocacy for regional integration and peace in addition to his engagement with the civil society organisations. He was widely credited for the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), which plays a vital role in mobilising resources in the event of large-scale disasters in the region.

Surin was also instrumental in establishing ERIA in 2008, realising that ASEAN would need a world-class research organisation that will generate intelligence regarding the challenges for economic progress and prosperity of the region. It has been announced that he will receive the Memorable Prize of the 4th Asia Cosmopolitan Awards held by ERIA for his significant contributions toward ASEAN’s development through his passion and efforts in making ASEAN a people-centred community.

Surin’s leadership is acknowledged as a memorable part of ASEAN’s journey and one that has significantly influenced the organisation’s international renown. The tribute forum hopes to carry on Surin’s spirit and enthusiasm in creating a unified and peaceful ASEAN as the regional organisation forges ahead with the next phase of regional integration.-VNA