Dr Kao Kim Hourn is the first Cambodian to be appointed ASEAN Secretary-General

We welcome Dr Kao Kim Hourn as the new Secretary-General of the important 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations for 2022-2027. The first Cambodian national to be appointed to ASEAN's top job, he succeeded Brunei’s Lim Jock Hoi on 1 January.

Dr Kao Kim Hourn, the new Secretary-General of the important 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (2022-2027), is the first Cambodian to occupy the office.

In his inaugural speech as Secretary-General, Dr Kao stressed, “It is important that ASEAN should continue to give key priorities to what I considered as the Six P’s: peace, prosperity, planet, people, partnerships, and potentials.”

He added, “ASEAN has always been at its very best when it works together collectively in the spirit of unity and solidarity, whether that be among its Member States or with its external partners. I am confident that if we stand united, act collectively and positively, and look after one another in the true spirit of amity and cooperation, there is nothing that ASEAN cannot achieve.”

While Dr Kao's recently served as a two-term Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, his professional career has focused on strengthening Cambodia’s international relations particularly in ASEAN, driving policy advocacy, and promoting research and education.

Following his education in the USA - he received a Doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, two Master’s degrees from Ohio University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University - he returned to Cambodia in January 1993 to run a think-tank dedicated to ASEAN and international affairs. and played a key role in Cambodia’s acceptance into the regional organization in 1999. 

He established The University of Cambodia in 2003, which now boasts over 20,000 alumni, founded two additional think-tanks, and was co-founder of Cambodia's Southeast Asia Television and Radio network.

He is a Member of Cambodia's Supreme National Economic Council, a Senior Fellow at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, and a Member of the Global Council of The Asia Society. He serves as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace as well as for the Worldwide Support for Development. He also has acted as a Member of the Standing Committee of the Cambodian Red Cross

He is married with two adult children who live in Phnom Penh.

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