United States Participates in 1st East Asia Summit (EAS) Education Ministerial Meeting

Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller (second from left) with Education Ministers from the rest of the EAS.
Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller (second from left) with Education Ministers from the rest of the EAS.

A United States delegation led by Deputy Secretary of Education Anthony (Tony) Miller and Ambassador to ASEAN David Carden attended today’s First EAS Education Ministerial Meeting (EMM) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.  The EMM convened its first formal meeting to follow up on EAS leaders’ mandate last November to ensure education is given a prominent place on the regional agenda.

Deputy Secretary Miller’s attendance at the EMM marks the U.S. Department of Education’s initial participation in an ASEAN-led forum.  The Department of Education has engaged in education related meetings within the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, as well as with multilateral organizations in other regions.

“Following President Obama’s participation in last year’s East Asia Summit in Bali, there is great interest in exploring cooperation through EAS,” said Deputy Secretary Miller.  “We greatly value this opportunity to exchange views with our counterparts and discuss the common challenges facing education worldwide, including teaching quality, technical and vocational education, and use of educational technology.”

The United States’ higher education system is globally recognized for its innovation and excellence, attracting more international students than any other country in the world.  Of a population of almost 750,000 international students studying at colleges and universities in the United States in 2010, over half were from the 18 EAS participating countries.

“The United States educational system finds strength in diversity. This value is shared among EAS’ diverse membership,” added Ambassador Carden.  “All EAS members also recognize that our common future prosperity must rest on solid education foundations.”

The EMM was chaired by H.E. Prof. Mohammad Nuh, Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia.  Indonesia as 2011 EAS Chair played an instrumental role in pursuing education as an EAS priority.  Education is also a key pillar in the bilateral US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership.

“We are delighted to host the first formal EAS-EMM in Yogyakarta and are pleased with the United States’ attendance,” stated Prof. Nuh.  “As a global innovator in education, the United States has much to offer this forum. We are hopeful that the experience of the United States can help guide the development of EAS education cooperation to the benefit of all participants.”

In their joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the Education Ministers of the Member States of the EAS agreed to focus their efforts on improving the quality of education and promoting student mobility in member countries and across the region.  The next meeting is scheduled to be held in Laos in 2014.