Baylor grad named secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a political and economic partnership of 10 countries in Southeast Asia, together representing more than 660 million people — roughly 8.5% of the world’s population — and a combined GDP around $10 trillion.
The new leader of ASEAN? He’s a Baylor Bear.
Dr. Kao Kim Hourn (BA ’89) took office as the 15th secretary-general of ASEAN in January, the first Cambodian to lead the group. He was appointed to the role last August and officially approved in November, following Lim Jock Hoi of Brunei.
Growing up in Cambodia, Kao survived the Khmer Rouge genocide; he and his family moved to the U.S. as refugees when he was 15. Kao graduated from Baylor in 1989 with his BA in Asian studies, then earned two master’s degrees from Ohio University and his doctorate in political science from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He eventually returned to Cambodia, where he worked in the Cambodian government and established the University of Cambodia, serving as its president from the school’s founding in 2003 until last fall.
As secretary-general of ASEAN, Kao is tasked with leading the 10-country organization, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. His term as secretary-general will run through 2027.
Sic ’em, Dr. Kao!