HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai welcomes new US Consul General

Le Meridien hosts latest Skål meet

Rainy season doesn’t slow down serious networkers


Chiang Mai welcomes new US Consul General

New US Consul General Susan Stevenson is flanked by Chinese Consul General Zhu Weimin of the People’s Republic of China, Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant, at right is Boonlert Buranapakorn, the President of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization.

By Phitsanu Thepthong

The US Consulate General in Chiang Mai hosted a welcome party for new Consul General Susan Stevenson, her husband Mark and their three children on August 19.

In a scene reminiscent of the departure of former Consul-General Michael K. Morrow and his wife Shannon, about a hundred guests offered the new Consul General flowers and souvenirs as welcome gifts. Luckily, the skies were clear for the event and despite the heavy rains of previous days, the party remained dry.

Susan Stevenson was previously posted in Beijing, China as Press Attache a the US Embassy there. She started out her career in the foreign service in Thailand, working in the Press Office at the US Embassy in Bangkok and even serving a stint as Acting Public Affairs Officer for the US Consulate-General in Chiang Mai. Consul General Stevenson speaks Thai, Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish.

Arvind Kumar; the Consul of India, left, presents a basket of flowers to incoming US Consul General Susan Stevenson and her husband Mark.

“Sawasdee Jao”, Mrs. Stevenson greeted the crowd in the Northern dialect. “Tonight is a special night as we are lucky it did not rain. My husband and I are very pleased to meet with all of you here.”

She added that she first started her career as a diplomat in Thailand 17 years ago, noting, “Chiang Mai is a special place with its unique Lanna culture, particularly the celebration of Songkran here, which is great.”

“This year marked the 60th anniversary of the Consulate-General in Chiang Mai as well as the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright in Thailand.”

In conclusion she noted the special relationship that exists between Thailand and the United States, citing close cooperation on many projects, including several new projects that are taking place in the North.

Representatives of Chiang Mai media organisations presented a bouquet of flowers to congratulate US Consul General Susan Stevenson, 3rd left and her husband Mark, 4th left. .With them are Chaipin Katiya, Chief of Thairath newspaper in the North, Amnart Chongyosying, the Chief of Naewna newspaper in Chiang Mai, Susan , Mark, Phitsanu Thepthong, Editor of Chiang Mai Mail, and Pongphan Jongyosying, a member of National Economic and Social Advisory Council.

From left, French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude joins US Consul General Susan and her husband Mark Stevenson, Wanpen and German Honorary Consul General Hagen Dirkson at the welcome party.

Japanese Consul Masahide Sato and Masako Sato join the party to welcome
the new U.S Consul-General at the U.S. Consulate.


Le Meridien hosts latest Skål meet

Led by Annette Kunigagon, Skålleagues join
in the traditional Skål toast both in English and in Thai.

By Shana Kongmun

Skålleagues met at the Le Meridien on Thursday, July 29 in a very well attended event despite the rains. President Marc Dumur was travelling in China so long term resident Annette Kunigagon of Eagle House and Voluntary Regional Representative for the Irish Consulate led the event.

Several new members were greeted, while others were lauded for promotions and two happy members celebrated their birthdays. The gathered crowd not only made the traditional Skål toast after Annette led it in English and in Thai but then also joined in to sing Happy Birthday.

Alberto Cosi of the Italian Connection was there, discussing his recent film and photography classes at the Sangdee Gallery on Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5, Sommai Lumdual mentioned upcoming shows at his gallery, La Luna and Bodo Klingenberg of the Anantara Golden Triangle Chiang Rai made the trip to join the group after many had made the trek up to his place for the Skål meeting the previous month.

Simon Douthett, the new General Manager for the Holiday Inn, enjoyed the buffet dinner, while Annette mentioned that she had her eye on the lavish dessert table that had everything from tiramisu to tiny lemon meringue pies.

The evening ended with much conversation and more than a few people lingered after dinner to talk about the latest developments in Chiang Mai and Thailand. And while everyone was lucky enough to have avoided the rains before departing, it seems that evening was just the start of the rainy season.

Skålleagues join for a group photo before dinner at the Le Meridien.

Rainy season doesn’t slow down serious networkers

(From left) Frank Sethi joins Siriporn (Nam) Wongaram in presenting Stephen Brooks who won a gift certificate from Fashion King while Peter Smith,
 Director of AA Insurance Broker Co.,Ltd looks on.

By Phitsanu Thepthong

Despite Gary Newitt of AA Insurance Brokers concern that the rainy night might hamper party goers, it didn’t deter the 30 or so Networking One attendees at the Shangri La Hotel for their August meeting.

Phillip Johnson, a consultant for the In Focus 4 You newsmagazine said, “This Networking evening is a very nice occasion, with alot of people from different walks of life, from different countries and a lot of variety. The people here are very friendly and have the good time. I like to meet new people and will definitely be coming again.”

Tony Malhotra, Managing Director of the Chiang Mai Mail chats with Martin Venzky-Stalling, Senior Consultant of Technology Development Center for Industry ( TDCI), June Unland , Technical director of Asia engineering Co.,Ltd and Jamie Sylvian.

Frank Sethi, Managing Director of the popular Fashion King located in the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar said, “ This is my second time attending the Networking One meeting and I have enjoyed meeting different people from many different professions.

I’m still a new face here and don’t know a lot of people but I have made new friends and this is important.”

Ms. Gill Saviker, who works for CMU’s Language Institutes Cultural Exchange Program as Program Manager said it was very good to meet people as it gave her the opportunity to share information about her program with people.

“One thing that I know I didn’t mention was that we also have people with very high levels of education/ qualification coming from over seas to actually teach in the different faculties at Chiang Mai University (not just teach in schools as we discussed). just wanted to add that as I think it’s important to show the full range of opportunities we have available to people.”

“We, as people from abroad want to learn more about Thai culture and language. I attend these networking functions to meet with like minded people, and then we can share and learn from each other,” she said.

Turnout for the Networking One meeting was good despite the rain,
 as everyone gathers for a group photo at the Shangri La Hotel.