In early September, Vietnam will host foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—as well as their counterparts from the United States, China, Japan, Russia, India, the two Koreas, and other Asian nations—for the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum and related meetings. A range of security issues will be on the agenda, and the forum will be a key test of how well ASEAN as an institution is prepared to handle new challenges facing Southeast Asia.

Originally designed to minimize interstate conflict by building trust among members, ASEAN now faces new challenges. Increasing U.S.-China competition is undercutting the continued relevance and feasibility of ASEAN and its principle of consensus-based decision making, while nontraditional security threats such as climate change and COVID-19 present additional opportunities for instability. 

On September 3, USIP and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy hosted a virtual discussion on the upcoming forum and ASEAN’s role in building peace and resilience in Southeast Asia, featuring findings from USIP’s newly published report, “Built for Trust, Not for Conflict: ASEAN Faces the Future.”

Join the conversation on Twitter with #ASEANFacestheFuture. 


Assistant Secretary David Stilwell, opening remarks
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Dr. Mely Caballero-Anthony
Professor of International Relations & Head of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Byron Chong
Research Associate, Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Drew Thompson
Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh
Former Ambassador of Vietnam to the United States

Brian Hardingmoderator
Senior Expert for Southeast Asia, U.S. Institute of Peace

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