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Payap University Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

Payap University Celebrates its 35th Anniversary

By Thomas Hughes
Payap University celebrated the 35th anniversary of its founding on February 16th, with a series of lectures, research presentations, music performances, and exhibits.

Cultural dancers, musicians, handicraft artisans and food vendors provided a colorful and vibrant scene on the grass fields in and around the Sirindhorn Learning Resource Center and the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace. Meanwhile, a day-long series of research presentations and lectures were underway from visiting scholars as well as faculty and students in Payap’s English-medium Masters degree programs in Linguistics, Business Administration and English teaching (TESOL).

Dr. Kimmo Kosonen and Ajarn Noel Mann from the Linguistics Department and Linguistics Institute gave overviews of current issues in language policy and language development for the speakers of the 76 languages spoken in Thailand and the several thousand others spoken throughout Southeast Asia. Then students and faculty gave presentations on linguistics research on the Nepali, Bru, and Khmu language communities in Thailand.

The International MBA lectures were keynoted by Payap’s Dr. Somboon Panyakom and Dr. Thein Swe. Dr. Somboon gave a presentation on non-profits helping Pwo-Karen communities, while Dr. Thien Swe gave a talk on the globalization issues within the Greater Mekong Sub-region that are affecting education in Thailand and that present challenges for internationally oriented universities like Payap. These lectures were followed by presentations of MBA student research findings on Thai-Myanmar border trade and the situation of Chiang Mai area businesses in the art, hospitality and wood-carving industries.

In addition to these linguistics and iMBA lectures, other presentations were given on research in English teaching in Thailand and Myanmar, as well as several lectures on developments in the Thai business scene, presented by students and faculty from Payap’s Thai MBA program.

The day also featured lectures from noted scholars from universities throughout Thailand on emerging topics such as Palliative Care, Living Wills and issues of nationality for stateless people in Thailand. The latter discussion featured an appearance from Chiang Mai’s stateless school boy, Mong Thongdee, who last year shed light on the issue of nationality for the stateless, after winning a paper airplane contest that included a prize trip to a competition in Japan (which was finally facilitated with intervention from Prime Minister Abhisit).

In the afternoon a celebration was held with special guests from around the world offering words of congratulations. These included the Governor of Chiang Mai Province along with the Consul Generals for China, Japan, and the United States, as well as university presidents from Cambodia, Japan, Korea and many universities throughout Thailand.

The fun-filled day was capped off by a concert by the Chiang Mai Orchestra and students from Payap’s School of Music, including a rollicking performance by the University’s brass band. And, based on the energy created throughout the day, Thailand’s oldest private university looks well positioned to continue to thrive and grow in the decades to come.