Book E-launch “ASEAN Centrality: An Autoethnographic Account by a Philippine Diplomat”


About the Book

ASEAN Centrality is often referenced by government officials, academics and the External Partners of ASEAN, as if it had a generally accepted definition with a practical application. Although it is a principle enshrined in the ASEAN Charter and other seminal ASEAN documents, there is no common understanding of what it is and how it is manifested.

In her book titled “ASEAN Centrality: An Autoethnographic Account by a Philippine Diplomat”, Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso provides a definition of ASEAN Centrality from the perspective of a long-time practitioner of ASEAN diplomacy. Her three-dimensional definition is distinctive and practical because it can be applied in the day-to-day conduct of ASEAN’s relations among its Member States and its External Partners.

Using the unique analytical framework of autoethnography, Ambassador Buensuceso puts to full use her membership in the unique subculture, the so-called Jakarta Channel, to cull an account that is not only authoritative in its scholarly discipline but also provides for an engaging reading with its evocative, informative and sometimes, entertaining style.

Download the programme and flyer.

About the Guests of Honour

H.E. Teodoro L. LOCSIN, Jr. is the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. Prior to assuming this position, he served as the 20th Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations. A lawyer by profession and a journalist by trade, he holds a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, and was publisher, editorial writer, and co-anchor and host of a number of national broadsheets and radio and TV news shows. In government, he served as legal counsel and speechwriter to President Corazon Aquino, and speechwriter to Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was also elected to the Philippine House of Representatives, representing the First District of Makati City from 2001 to 2010.

H.E. Dr Vivian BALAKRISHNAN is Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. He previously served as the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative; Minister for the Environment and Water Resources; Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports; Second Minister for Trade and Industry; Minister-in-charge of Entrepreneurship; Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Minister of State for National Development.

Before becoming a Member of Parliament in 2001, he was Chief Executive Officer of Singapore General Hospital. He became Medical Director of Singapore National Eye Centre in 1999. He studied Medicine at the National University of Singapore after being awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1980.

About the Panellists

Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso is the Philippine Eminent Person to the High-Level Task Force that will chart the future of ASEAN. She was, until recently, the Undersecretary (Vice Minister) and ASEAN SOM Leader of the Philippines, and before that, the Permanent Representative to ASEAN for six years during which she chaired various ASEAN committees and bodies based in Jakarta. She has been with the foreign service for over 41 years and has served as Ambassador to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and the Lao PDR. She has received a number of awards and distinctions, including a presidential Grand Cross (Gawad Kamanong). She has a degree in English (magna cum laude) and an MA in ASEAN Studies. Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso is the Author of the book titled “ASEAN Centrality: An Autoethnographic Account by a Philippine Diplomat”.

Ambassador ONG Keng Yong is Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore since November 2014. Concurrently, he is Ambassador-at-Large in the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Singapore’s non-resident High Commissioner to Pakistan and non-resident Ambassador to Iran.  He was High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia from July 2011 to October 2014. Mr Ong was Secretary-General of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), based in Jakarta, Indonesia from January 2003 to January 2008.

H.E. Dr R.M. Marty M. NATALEGAWA served as Foreign Minister of Indonesia (2009–2014). He was Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN (2007-2009) and Ambassador to the UK and Ireland (2005-2007). He is a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation, UNSG’s Advisory Board on Disarmament, and UN Institute for Disarmament Research’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Natalegawa authored “Does ASEAN Matter? A View from Within” (2018), and is cited as “one of the most respected foreign policy and international security thinkers of his generation, both within Indonesia, in Southeast Asia, and in the broader Asia-Pacific region”. He is presently a member of the International Academic Advisory Committee of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies; Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)’s Southeast Asia Advisory Board; Chairperson of the Asia Pacific Leaders Network (APLN) for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament; Jeju Forum’s Global Advisory Committee; amongst other senior positions.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.

Limited spaces only, register early to avoid disappointment.

To join the webinar,
1. Install the Zoom client onto your computer or download the app on your mobile device.
2. Click on the unique link in your email.

If you have questions for the panellists, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the panellist during the Q&A session.


Mar 08 2022


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm