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ASEAN Matters for Southern California

CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy

The ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have experienced a tremendous amount of economic growth in recent years. Cheaper manufacturing costs, strengthened infrastructures, and innovations in science and technology have attracted billions in foreign direct investment. With rising levels of disposable income for the region’s expanding middle class, it is no surprise that ASEAN economies are expected to grow 4.3% in 2015. This prosperity bodes particularly well for California, where exports to ASEAN nations contributed more than $14.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2012. ASEAN is California’s fifth largest export market following Mexico, Canada, China, and Japan, ahead of South Korea and Germany.

On Tuesday, October 7th the United States Ambassadors to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore visited the University of Southern California for an in-depth panel discussion on the local impact of ASEAN/U.S. trade, why ASEAN is critical to Southern California’s continued economic growth, and the vital role of public diplomacy. Professor Gabriel Kahn, Co-Director, Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship; Director, Future of Journalism at the Annenberg Innovation Lab moderated the event. The event was presented in collaboration with the Pacific Council on International Policy.

To review the event write-up in the USC Daily Trojan, please click here.


Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr.
Robert O. Blake, Jr. has been the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia since 2013. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs from 2009-2013 and Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives from 2006-2009.  


Ambassador William E. Todd
William (Bill) E. Todd has served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia since 2012. Prior to this, he served as the Coordinating Director of Development and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul where he was responsible for all nonmilitary civilian assistance in Afghanistan.


Ambassador Kirk Wagar
Kirk Wagar has served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore since 2013. Prior to his assignment, he was Managing Partner of Wagar Law, a Miami-based law firm he founded. Mr. Wager served as the Florida Finance Chair for Obama for America in 2008 and 2012.


Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun
Joseph Y. Yun has been the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia since 2013. Most recently, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Mr. Yun's overseas postings have also included the Republic of Korea, Thailand, France, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.


Alexander Feldman
Alexander Feldman is President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council.  He has been involved in the ASEAN region for 25 years in a career spanning both the public and private sectors. He has resided in Asia for more than a decade, and has conducted business in all 10 ASEAN countries.

Event started at 2:00 pm, preceded by a welcome reception at 1:30 pm.

To read the story in the USC Daily Trojan, please click here.

To view photos from the event, please click here.

See below for a highlight reel from the event.

To watch the full event video on live stream, please click here.



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