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Gala 84th birthday party

Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai raises funds for the Culture Council

Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai presents a check for the Chiang Mai Culture Council.

By Shana Kongmun
The doyenne of Chiang Mai society, Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai celebrated her 7th cycle birthday this month with a gala dinner held at the Empress Hotel on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

The event, which was attended by many notable local citizens including Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, U.S. Consul Kenneth Foster, Honorary Consul for Greece George Sirios and his lovely wife Dararat, Honorary Consul Rachan Veeraphan, Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Director of Pinkanakorn Development Agency, Vithi Phanichpant, and many others who came to celebrate this important birthday.

The evening started out with a grand parade led by traditional Lanna dancers, drummers, followed by elderly locals dressed in white and then a Buddha image carried aloft. Finally, Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai was carried in on a palanquin to greet her guests and well wishers.

U.S. Consul Ken Foster and Bangladesh Honorary Consul Rachan Veeraphan join former Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai, Mae Hong Son Governor Naruemol Plawat and Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai on her 84th birthday.

Flowers and well wishes were offered by many of the guests before everyone retired for dinner where a surprise guest joined the event, former two time Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai who had come from a meeting in Lamphun. The Chao Yai, as she is often called, took to the stage to receive birthday greetings from HRH Princess Soamsawali and to present a check for 165,000 baht for the Chiang Mai Culture Council to continue their efforts in promoting and preserving local Northern culture.

Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai receives birthday greetings from guests.

The guests were entertained by dancers, the famed Soontaree Vechanont entertained the crowd with her lovely voice followed by a performance from Phantom of the Opera by Book Kitavadhana. Awards were handed out to those who had contributed to the preservation and promotion of Lanna culture before the entertainment continued and guests offered their birthday wishes to Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai on the occasion of her 84th birthday.

Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai greets well-wishers for her birthday.

Local residents come to the party to wish Dr. Chao Duangduan na Chiangmai a very happy birthday.

Rotary Peace Forum in Hiroshima notes that ‘Peace begins with you’

R.I. President receives symbol of peace from Thai Rotarians

Past RI President Luis Giay (left), RI President Sakuji Tanaka (centre), and Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Wilfrid J. Wilkinson (right) lay wreaths at the Memorial Cenotaph in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park during the Rotary Global Peace Forum 17 May. (Photo courtesy of Noriko Futagami, The Rotary-no-Tomo)

Arnold R. Grahl & Pratheep S. Malhotra
Photos: Noriko Futagami & Monwipa Sangma

In a ceremony heavy with symbolism, RI President Sakuji Tanaka joined other Rotary and community leaders in laying a wreath in Hiroshima Memorial Park, dedicated to the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on the city during World War II.

Artist extraordinaire, Past President Nit Duangdee sits pensively in front of his finished ‘Masterpiece for Peace’.
The subject of peace has been at the heart of Tanaka’s year as president of Rotary International. A member of the Rotary Club of Yashio, Japan, Tanaka selected ‘Peace Through Service’ as Rotary International’s theme for his year, and he organized three global peace forums to motivate Rotarians and others, particularly youth, to work for peace in their daily lives.
The wreath-laying ritual took place on May 17 in Hiroshima, Japan during the Rotary Global Peace Forum held on 17-18 May. Tanaka also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and signed the guest book, which contains messages of peace from many past and present world leaders.
More than 2,700 delegates attended the forum, including Rotarians, community leaders, and students and alumni of Rotary’s Peace Centers program - a peace studies initiative that provides future leaders with the skills needed to resolve conflicts and promote peace. The governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Hidehiko Yuzaki, and the mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, also attended the solemn ceremony.

District Governor (3340) Thatree Leetheeraprasert (2nd right), PP Noppadol Sangma (right) and PDG Pratheep S. Malhotra (left) present the ‘Peace through Service’ portrait to Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka (2nd left).

Previous forums were held in Berlin, Germany last November and in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA in January this year. Tanaka selected all three sites because they were affected by the events of World War II and now represent the healing power of sustainable peace between nations.
A small contingent of Thai Rotarians attended the 2 day event bearing with them a unique token of peace which was presented to President Tanaka.

PDG Pratheep Malhotra presents President Tanaka with letters written by Rotarians in the restive southern provinces of Thailand in the hope that Rotary can play a part in bringing peace to their communities again.

At the presentation Thatree Leetheeraprasert, governor of district 3340 in Thailand explained the purpose and symbolism of the ‘Painting for Peace’ project saying, “Rotarians in Thailand are most impressed and emotionally touched by your theme ‘Peace Through Service’ for 2012-13. Every Rotarian in Thailand is in total agreement that we should promulgate this message to the people in every corner of our beautiful country.”
To realise this plan, DG Thatree and the Rotary Club of Pattaya initiated a project called “Painting for Peace”.
An eminent artist, Past President Nit Duangdee of the Rotary Club of Pattaya was commissioned to paint a portrait of ‘Sakuji Tanaka’.

Artist Nit Duangdee created a special work of art portraying President Tanaka and his wife Kyoko, which was warmly received by Tanaka-san.

During the painting process, Past President Noppadol Sangma carried the unfinished portrait to every district in Thailand where Rotarians wrote their messages of peace on the picture. They also made contributions, the sum of which will be presented to the relevant organisations for the promotion of peace and conflict resolution in Thailand, most especially in the restive south.
“This painting is the only one of its kind in the world,” said DG Thatree, “and we hope that this project will not only instil the true meaning of peace in our hearts but will also foster goodwill between the Thai and Japanese people.”

RI President Sakuji Tanaka graciously thanks District Governor Thatree Leetheeraprasert, PP Noppadol Sangma and PDG Pratheep S. Malhotra for a most meaningful symbol of peace.

In his closing address President Tanaka said, “Every Rotary project, every act of service, is an act of love and kindness. When we serve in the right ways, and for the right reasons, we bring people together, in peace and in harmony. How could it be otherwise?”
Participants at the forum also adopted a declaration, “Peace Begins With You” which serves as a call to action for individuals to make a conscious effort in their daily lives to promote harmony with their neighbours and create friendships that transcend the divisions of nationality, politics, religion, and culture.
“Today, as we leave this last Rotary Peace Forum, I ask you to understand that peace, in all of the ways that we can understand it, is a real and realistic goal for Rotary,” Tanaka said. “Peace is not something that can only be achieved through treaties, by governments, or through heroic struggles. It is something that we can find, and that we can achieve - every day, and in many simple ways.”
Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair-elect Past R.I. President Dong Kurn Lee, of the Rotary Club of Seoul Hangang, Korea, spoke about the contributions Rotary has made in moving the nations of Korea and Japan closer together as allies and economic partners, healing old wounds. He quoted a Korean saying, “It takes two palms to make a clapping sound,” to illustrate that neither nation could decide alone to live in peace with its neighbour.
“Every year, for the last eleven years, Japanese and Korean Rotarians have had a very special meeting: a Japanese-Korean friendship meeting,” Lee said. “It is a wonderful event. We talk about Rotary, and we do some Rotary work. But the most important part of the meeting is simply coming together, in Rotary fellowship. ... Rotary has helped us to make our dream of peace between our countries real.”
President-nominee Gary C. K. Huang noted that the idea of treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves is a common concept across cultures and religions. Rotary members strive to achieve this by putting service above self and by laying a foundation for peace.
“We build peace in the world by building peace in our communities - within our Rotary zones and districts, and within our neighbourhoods,” Huang said. “We build peace in our communities by forging friendships, and by cultivating an open mind and a welcoming spirit within ourselves.”
Rotary has a long-standing commitment to peace. At the grassroots level, members have worked to address the underlying causes of conflict and violence, such as hunger, poverty, disease, and illiteracy. Ten years ago, Rotary decided to take a direct approach to promoting world understanding by providing future leaders with the tools they need to “wage peace” on the global stage.
Since 2002, Rotary clubs have annually sponsored up to 110 scholars who embark on one to two years of study, earning either master’s degrees or professional certificates in peace and conflict resolution at Rotary Peace Centers at universities around the world.
In Thailand, The Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University provides a three month; professional development certificate program twice annually to individuals currently working in related fields. Sessions run from January-April and June-August each year with a maximum of 25 Rotary Peace Fellows in each session. For more information and application go to:

Burma in the spotlight

Fundraising dinner for young burn victim

Ramlah Jafri and Garrett Kostin of the Best Friends Library are joined by Imperial Mae Ping Hotel General Manager Peter Schnyder join the musicians at the show
(Photo courtesy of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang Mai).

By The Best Friend Library
Chiang Mai’s Imperial Mae Ping Hotel was the site of ‘Burma in the Spotlight’, a unique gala charity dinner and dance in support of The Best Friend Burmese Library. The very successful event raised a grand total of 232,547 baht ($8,000 US) for The Best Friend’s projects in Chiang Mai and Shan State, as well as several other Burma organizations.

Ramlah Jaffri and Basil McCall helped to organize the successful fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)

The Best Friend is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting people from Burma, including compassionate care projects for migrants and refugees facing extreme difficulty, such as Chaa Nay Choo, the 14-year old boy from Burma’s Karenni State who was seriously burned whilst attempting to assist others during the fire that destroyed Mae Surin Refugee Camp on 22 March 2013.
Over 300 guests from many nations enjoyed the colourful event, which featured a special buffet featuring Burmese, Shan, and Karen dishes, traditional performances by entertainers from Burma, an exhibition of Burmese handicrafts, several presentations, and a silent auction of Burmese art.

The charity fundraiser was well attended and raised over 232,000 baht towards the care of victims of the devastating Mae Surin refugee camp fire.

“Tonight is about ‘Burma in the Spotlight’, and thank you for putting the spotlight on our country because it gives us pride, power, and encouragement to continue our work for peace and women’s rights, even when we feel like we are not on the winning side,” said Tin Tin Nyo, General Secretary of Women’s League of Burma, during her keynote address.

The popular Dang Fantastic got the crowd to their feet
(Photo courtesy of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang Mai).

Music was provided by Dang Fantastic and his band, with Geoff Allen as guest drummer, and a surprise appearance by the renowned Thai singer and musician Vichai Punyayun, the “Pink Panther” from the popular band The Impossibles. Ten special guest percussionists from Poon Yaing Migrant Worker’s Camp demonstrated their rhythmic skills on the Shan drums.

Frank Sethi, Ineke Martens and Matthy van der Pohl enjoyed the party.

The proceeds raised during the gala evening are largely ear-marked for the continuing medical treatment of Chaa Nay Choo, who being a refugee from Burma, is not covered by the Thai social security system, plus others in similar need, including Sai Khong Naitun, a migrant construction from Shan State who lost both of his arms in an electrical accident. The proceeds will also support the on-going work of The Best Friend organization in Chiang Mai and Hsipaw, Shan State.
The Best Friend is currently organizing another festive fundraising evening with Young Generation’s Note Journal to take place in Mae Sot, Thailand, in July. More information here:

Imperial Mae Ping General Manager Peter Schnyder joins Dominique Leutwiler and Armin Schoch for the gala fundraiser.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Gala 84th birthday party

Rotary Peace Forum in Hiroshima notes that ‘Peace begins with you’

Burma in the spotlight