Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 1, 2013

On July 1, Secretary of State John Kerry met on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Brunei with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers and the ASEAN Secretariat’s Secretary-General during the ASEAN-U.S. Ministerial Meeting. In this meeting, the Secretary reaffirmed the importance of U.S.-ASEAN ties, and highlighted many of the cooperative activities the United States has undertaken with ASEAN across its political-security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars.

Political-Security Engagement

  • The PROGRESS Program: The ASEAN-U.S. Partnership for Good Governance, Equitable and Sustainable Development, and Security (PROGRESS) will support political-security and socio-cultural cooperation, as well as ASEAN Secretariat capacity building. Key focus areas of cooperation will include: transnational crime; promotion of human rights, including women’s and children’s rights; legislative and judicial cooperation; disaster management; science and technology; and human resource development.
  • Cyber Issues: At the June ASEAN-US Consultation during the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, the United States proposed the U.S. - ASEAN Cybercrime Capacity-Building initiative, co-organized with Singapore, which would focus on requirements and models for national high-tech crime investigative units and digital forensics programs. In particular, the cybercrime initiative would address the authorities, tools, and techniques necessary for law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate cybercrime and process electronic evidence for any type of crime; and effectively use formal and informal international cooperation mechanisms for assistance in cybercrime investigations and other investigations involving electronic evidence.
  • Trafficking in Persons: After almost a decade of successes by MTV End Exploitation and Trafficking (MTV EXIT) raising awareness about the risks of trafficking in persons in the ASEAN region, USAID will continue to fund the campaign in 2013 and review a longer term, expanded funding portfolio through 2016 and beyond. The 2013 Trafficking in Persons report was released by Secretary Kerry on June 19th, providing overview of ASEAN countries’ anti-trafficking efforts on prosecution, protection, and prevention in 2012.

Economic Engagement:

  • The Expanded Economic Engagement with ASEAN (E3): Under E3, the United States has expanded cooperative work on standards development and practices, including on technical barriers to trade and good regulatory practices. Other E3 activities have included the second ASEAN Economic Ministers Roadshow to the United States, which took place in June.
  • Support for ASEAN Economic Integration: This month, USAID, in partnership with the Department of State and supporting other U.S. economic agencies working with ASEAN, is launching the ASEAN Connectivity for Trade and Investment (ACTI) program, a new 5-year, $18 million effort. In support of the ASEAN-U.S. TIFA, as well as the E3 initiative, ACTI will provide technical assistance to improve the trade and investment-enabling environment and enhance private sector integration and competitiveness in ASEAN. The program will focus on facilitating trade through improving standards and systems, boosting SME capacity, accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies, and expanding ICT connectivity.
  • Collaborative ASEAN and APEC Activities: The United States has worked to include non-APEC ASEAN members in valuable APEC capacity building activities, including workshops on ethical business practices for SMEs, energy efficient building standards, food safety standards, food security, emerging agricultural technologies, and good regulatory practices. A regional natural gas event co-hosted by the Department of State and the Government of Indonesia, and jointly endorsed by APEC and ASEAN, focused on changing global gas markets and the development of unconventional gas.

Socio-Cultural Engagement

  • The Brunei-U.S. Partnership on English Language Education for ASEAN: This five-year, $25 million project is funded by the Government of Brunei to improve English language skills in ASEAN. In May, the project launched an online community resource for English language educators and program alumni. In November, the project will host a forum in Brunei for academics and policy makers to discuss English language acquisition and ASEAN integration. Seventy government officials and teacher trainers from ASEAN countries are currently participating in the project’s second eleven-week English language intensive course in Brunei Darussalam and Hawaii.
  • Fulbright Exchange of U.S.-ASEAN Scholars: This pilot initiative to support the exchange of U.S. and ASEAN scholars under the Fulbright program enables Fulbright scholars from ASEAN countries to travel to the United States to focus on ASEAN-related priorities. Two distinct reciprocal components will award grants to Americans as Fulbright Specialists and to current American Fulbright Scholars in the region to provide capacity building expertise or scholarly assistance at ASEAN institutions or universities in ASEAN member countries. The selected visiting scholars’ areas of research include food security, public health, U.S.-ASEAN political relations, monetary policy, and law. The Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Initiative, launched to mark 35 years of partnership between ASEAN and the United States, builds upon the approximately 735 Fulbright scholarships to the U.S. or ASEAN citizens each year for study, research, or teaching.
  • The Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program: The State Department sponsors U.S.-based exchanges for high school students and educators from all 10 ASEAN member countries. The exchange activities focus on civic education, leadership, diversity, and volunteerism, and prepare participants to conduct projects at home that serve a community need.
  • The ASEAN International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP): 2014 will be the eighth year of the IVLP focus on ASEAN. The 2014 project will focus on cultivating an ASEAN-based identity in a changing world market. Participants will be policy makers, business leaders, journalists and economic activists.
  • U.S.-ASEAN Young Leaders: Alumni of the first-ever State Department youth exchange involving all ten ASEAN countries are leading efforts throughout the region to promote an “ASEAN identity,” and to improve their individual communities.
  • Support for U.S.-ASEAN Scholarship: The United States will continue our longstanding support for both U.S. and ASEAN scholars working on issues central to the region through symposia held at American University’s ASEAN Studies Center in Washington, D.C. This year, we will sponsor symposia related to the East Asia Summit and issues pertaining to Myanmar’s 2014 chair year.
  • U.S.-ASEAN Science Prize for Women: A partnership between the Department and UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), the prize will be awarded to a promising, early-career female scientist from the ASEAN region. The prize theme promotes water quality research supporting clean and safe drinking water in the ASEAN region. The prize winner will be selected on the basis of her demonstrated excellence in scientific research, cooperation with scientists from other ASEAN member economies, contribution to the theme of drinking water quality for the ASEAN region, and scientific creativity. Applications will open soon after ARF, with a winner announced at the ASEAN Science Week in Indonesia in 2014.
  • ASEAN Science and Technology Policy Fellows Pilot Program: This program will support up to eight science and technology fellows from ASEAN member states to work for one year in their home ministries to promote the use of the best available science to inform the national and ASEAN regional policy process. Following up on the U.S-ASEAN Innovation in Science through Partners in Regional Engagement (INSPIRE) initiative’s aim of encouraging cross-border scientific collaboration, it will build capacity within ASEAN and cooperation between ASEAN and the United States on the study of regional and transborder issues, and deepen the ties between ASEAN and U.S. scientists.
  • CityLinks Pilot Partnership between the United States and ASEAN Member States: In cooperation with the ASEAN Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities, the United States has launched an 18-month technical exchange program to improve climate adaptation readiness and resilience in ASEAN cities, beginning with a Climate Leadership Academy in August. After the Academy, selected ASEAN cities will participate in the “CityLinks” Pilot Partnership, for sustained technical exchanges with other ASEAN and U.S. cities.

PRN: 2013/0826