Strengthening Bonds through Public-Private Partnership
At the recently concluded 2023 U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, the world witnessed a historic moment as Vice President Kamala Harris, standing alongside leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), unveiled an ambitious plan.
They jointly declared their intent to establish the U.S.-ASEAN Center in Washington, D.C., a groundbreaking initiative aimed at solidifying the ties between the United States and ASEAN nations. This initiative, formed through a public-private partnership, promises to usher in a new era of collaboration between the two regions, fostering economic and cultural engagement on an unprecedented scale.
A Strategic Partnership Takes Shape
The United States and ASEAN have been nurturing their dialogue partnership since 1977, forging a multifaceted alliance covering political-security, economic, and socio-cultural aspects. The fruits of this partnership are remarkable; the United States stands as the largest source of foreign direct investment in Southeast Asia.
In 2022 alone, the collaboration between over 6,200 U.S. businesses and ASEAN nations led to a staggering $520.3 billion in total trade, breathing life into 625,000 jobs across all 50 states and an impressive million jobs in Southeast Asia.
This thriving relationship isn’t limited to trade; it extends to the people, with increasing people-to-people engagements between the combined one billion inhabitants of the U.S. and ASEAN. Moreover, the number of students from ASEAN countries pursuing education in the United States is on the rise.
The U.S.-ASEAN Center: A Beacon of Unity
The U.S.-ASEAN Center, conceived as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), marks a critical milestone in this enduring relationship. Moreover, the partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) is a testament to the commitment of both the U.S. Department of State and ASU in furthering this vital partnership.
Furthermore, ASU boasts a rich history of academic programs and studies dedicated to the Southeast Asian and broader Indo-Pacific region. Notably, ASU’s strategic locations in Washington, D.C., Tempe, Arizona, Los Angeles, California, and throughout Southeast Asia position it ideally as the epicenter for coordinating between ASEAN and the United States.
This collaboration between the public and private sectors, bolstered by ASU’s academic prowess, promises to catalyze a new era of U.S.-ASEAN relations. Specifically, the U.S.-ASEAN Center will serve as a hub for activities aimed at supporting the shared vision of an open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure region.
As we look forward to the future, this initiative offers a beacon of hope, unity, and prosperity for both the United States and the nations of ASEAN, solidifying their bonds for generations to come.