It is with great sadness that we learn of the sudden passing of Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. On behalf of the American people, I offer our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and the people of Thailand and the region.
Dr. Surin was a monumental figure – a statesman, educator, leader and visionary. He made many contributions to the stability and prosperity of Thailand and the region throughout his distinguished career, most prominently through his service as Minister of Foreign Affairs and later as Secretary-General of the Association of South East Asian Nations. Dr. Surin was also and always a strong friend of the United States. We will long remember his work to strengthen the partnership between our two nations. On a personal level, I recall with great fondness my January 2016 visit with him to Prateepsasana Islamic School in Nakhon Si Thammarat. As Dr. Surin took me around his school with great pride, the joy on students’ faces when he greeted them was moving and impressive.
We will long remember the deep, lasting contributions Dr. Surin made to his country, his region, and his world.