Clinton: Exchanges critical part of U.S. engagement with Southeast Asia

On various occasions during her recent travels to Southeast Asia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlined how important people-to-people exchanges are to building close ties between the United States and South-East Asian countries.

Speaking at the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Clinton expressed the U.S.’ commitment to deepening our “people-to-people engagement,” explaining that:

“There are people-to-people initiatives, and I have to say that the one request I hear consistently as I travel throughout Southeast Asia is that people in this region want more opportunities to interact with Americans and to visit America, particularly young people. And of course, young people are the majority of the people in the ASEAN nations. So I strongly support this outreach. And we have created a U.S.-ASEAN Young Leaders Summit to connect our next generation of leaders. This fall, the United States will welcome the first students to Hawaii under the Brunei-U.S. English language initiative. We have also created a pilot program for a new Fulbright-ASEAN exchange to deepen our educational ties.”

Clinton also described the expansion of educational and cultural exchanges, such as exchanges among labor academics, as part of the “multifaceted engagement” the U.S. is seeking with ASEAN nations.