Building the Indo-Pacific: ASEAN Stakeholder Forum

A new era of US engagement in infrastructure and development opportunities the Indo-Pacific commenced on October 3, 2018 when Congress passed the BUILD Act, a bipartisan legislation which establishes the International Development Finance Corporation. The IDFC will completely overhaul the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and mobilize $60 billion to facilitate the participation of private sector capital and skills in the economic development of countries with low- or lower-middle-income economies in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. The passage of the BUILD Act comes months after U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched the development arm of the U.S.’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy with initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Transaction Advisory Fund (ITAF) and AsiaEDGE. These initiatives combined with financing from the BUILD Act will offer a clear choice for high-quality infrastructure that will help fill the $3.4 trillion infrastructure gap in ASEAN countries. 

The Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program, through its Asia Strategy Initiative, is working with stakeholders to identify strategic and pragmatic impacts areas for these emerging initiatives. We invite you to this public, on-record event to learn how stakeholders are reacting to the news of the BUILD Act’s passage and envisioning how they and others can benefit from opportunities within.

WHAT: Public, on-record event to discuss pragmatic and strategic opportunities in ASEAN catalyzed by the passage of the BUILD Act and the U.S.’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. 
WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC, 20036
WHEN: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM on Tuesday, October 30, 2018
RSVP: This event is full. Please join us on the livestream!
FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonNow to join the conversation.


Keynote Speech:

Walter Douglas, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Walter Douglas is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy & Regional and Security Policy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Walter was previously the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Media Engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs. Before that, he served overseas as minister counselor for public affairs at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi. Earlier, Walter was a senior visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. His report “Engaging the Muslim World: Public Diplomacy after 9/11 in the Arab Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan” was published in 2013.

Until October, 2011, Walter was based in Islamabad as the director of communications for the U.S. mission in Pakistan. Before that, he served in Washington as executive assistant to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and as the director of the office of press and public diplomacy in the Near Eastern Affairs bureau. This followed a tour as public affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Walter also served as a public affairs officer at U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey, Cyprus, and Iceland. He was deputy to the spokesman at the U.S. mission to the United Nations when Madeleine Albright was ambassador. Earlier, he served at the U.S. missions in South Korea and Cote d’Ivoire. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Walter worked as an advertising executive in New York and as a legislative assistant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Walter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in history.

Discussion Panel:

Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallegos Romualdez, Phillippines Ambassador to the United States of America

Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallego Romualdez was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the United States of America in July 2017 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. On 29 November 2017, he presented his credentials to US President Donald J. Trump and formally assumed office as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Additionally, as the head of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Romualdez is concurrently the Philippines’ emissary to the Commonwealth of Jamaica, Republic of Haiti; Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Dominica; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and Saint Lucia. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Romualdez was designated as a special envoy of the Philippine President to the United States. He also served as a member of several Philippine business delegations visiting the United States, China, Japan and New Zealand from 1989 to 2012. Ambassador Romualdez has extensive experience as a media practitioner and business executive. He used to be the Chief Executive Officer of Stargate Media Corporation and Publisher of People Asia Magazine (The Philippine Star affiliate). He was president of the Manila Overseas Press Club and vice-president of Rotary Club of Manila.

Roland De Marcellus, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Finance and Development, US. Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs

Roland de Marcellus is Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Finance and Development within the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB). He has also led EB’s Office of Development Finance, which manages the State Department’s interactions with the World Bank and regional development banks, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Roland has played a leading role in mobilizing international post-conflict and post-disaster reconstruction assistance, including for Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He has served twice on detail with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where his duties involved trade relations with the European Union and the Middle East. Prior to that, he was Assistant Director of the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board and an intelligence analyst in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Ms. Boosara Kanchanalai, Deputy Chief of Mission, Royal Thai Embassy 

Ms. Boosara Kanchanalai has assumed the position as Minister to the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. and Deputy Chief of Mission since September 2018. Prior to this position, she served as Deputy Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.  Her other previous overseas assignments included Deputy Consul-General to the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Guangzhou, PRC; Minister-Counselor to the Royal Thai Embassy in Malaysia.  Her first assignment in the United States was during 1994-1997 which she served as Consul at the Royal Thai Consulate-General in New York City.

Paul Shmotolokha, Vice President of Alpha Technologies (Bellingham, WA)

For over 25 years, Paul Shmotolokha has focused on international business having managed overseas companies and built global markets in technology, telecommunications and renewable energy.   Paul currently leads international operations and government relations for global power solutions provider Alpha Technologies, whose markets include power and related applications for the cable television, telecommunications, renewable energy, transportation and utility industries.  Paul is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an alumnus of the Universidad de Chile’s Institute for International Studies and London Business School.  Last year Paul joined the Travelers Century Club when he passed the mark of having visited over 100 countries. He is a member of the Board of the US-Philippines Society.

Brian Eyler, Director, Stimson Center Southeast Asia Program (moderator)

Brian Eyler is the Director of Stimson’s Southeast Asia program. Eyler is an expert on transboundary issues in the Mekong region and specializes in China’s economic cooperation with Southeast Asia. He has spent more than 15 years living and working in China and over the last ten years has conducted extensive research with stakeholders in the Mekong region, leading numerous study tours through China and mainland Southeast Asia. Before coming to the Stimson Center, he served as the Director of the IES Kunming Center at Yunnan University and as a consultant to the UNDP Lancang-Mekong Economic Cooperation program in Kunming, Yunnan province. He holds a MA from the University of California, San Diego and a BA from Bucknell University. Brian is the co-founder of the website His first book, The Last Days of the Mighty Mekong will be published by Zed Books in 2019.


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