CMU students in mock U.S. election debate
Students in a win –win situation as they learn debating skills
Ora-orn Poocharoen (4th left), U.S. Consul General Michael Heath (center)
and U.S. Consul on Political and Economic Affairs Jennifer Barnes-Kerns are
joined by representatvies from the American Corner at the CMU Library,
consular staff and faculty at the opening of the Mock Debate.
By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai University Political Science students took on new roles
on Tuesday, March 15 as Republican and Democrat candidates in a mock U.S.
election debate at the Uniserv building. Outside the debate room was a
comprehensive display on the electoral process in the United States
presidential campaign; covering everything from primaries to the Electoral
College. Inside was a room full of enthusiastic supporters sporting campaign
stickers cheering for their favorite candidates.
on Political and Economic Affairs Jennifer Barnes-Kerns and ), U.S. Consul
General Michael Heath before the start of the debates.
The Dean of the Political Science and Public Administration Faculty Dr.
Ora-orn Poocharoen reminded students that the debate was being held for
three key reasons; to raise awareness and increase understanding of the U.S.
election process, to learn how to debate and obtain the skill sets to do a
debate in English. Finally she said it educated students and the general
public about “the importance of understanding international relations and
international affairs and how that affects our daily lives.”
U.S Consul – General Michael Heath opened the event reminding students that
this debate was an important part of the political process and noted that
even though some of the debaters didn’t necessarily support the positions
they were arguing that it gave them a good look into the debate process and
may open their eyes to other viewpoints.
representing the Republican Party ready for the debate which was conducted
entirely in English.
He said, “The purpose of this is to provide you with a forum to discuss
issues that we discuss ourselves during the election season.” He noted that
important primaries were being held that night and added that it would not
determine the exact winner but go a long way towards knowing who were the
representing the Democrat Party supporting their candidate and his running
“We’ve been very fortunate to have some
very eloquent Chiang Mai University students representing the Democrat Party
and the Republican Party here today”, the U.S. Consul General said as he
opened the debate. He continued, “We want to stress that when these students
come up to give you their opinions, these are not necessarily their own
opinions but they’ve been asked to provide what they think a candidate for
the Democrat Party or a candidate for the Republican Party might present on
a certain issue. And of course we must realize that even our own parties
also have many differences between them; the Democrats themselves and the
Republicans themselves don’t always agree with each other on what we should
be doing in terms of foreign policy, immigration or protecting the
environment. So, we have to recognize that just because we have two parties
doesn’t mean we necessarily have two points of view.”
Representatives for the Democrat Party (left) and Republican Party (right)
take to the stage to debate.
He reminded the students that they will
all have the opportunity to vote on the candidates after the debate and said
that there is no one right answer but did ask the students to not
necessarily vote for the positions they already agree with but said he would
like to see the students vote for the side they think presents their
opinions in the best way and makes the most clear presentation of their
positions on each issue.
U.S. Consul General Michael Heath thanked the students for their hard work
in preparing for the debate, the volunteers and the American Corner as well
as sponsor s.
The students then took the stage to present their case on various issues
including foreign policy, ISIS, the economy and immigration, the very issues
many Americans are discussing now.
debate was a comprehensive exhibition of the U.S. electoral process.
The students said they were very excited to have the debate although several
confessed it was difficult debating for policies they didn’t support but
that it was a great learning opportunity and did open their eyes to
differing points of view.
Anantara’s Annual King’s Cup raises millions for Thailand’s elephants
Funds to go to Mae Taeng Elephant clinic and more
feast after the Polo matches on National Elephant Day.
After four days of fun festivities, the
14th annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament came to a close on Sunday
March 13, 2016 coinciding with Thailand’s National Elephant Day. Ten teams
with players from around the world, including Miss Thailand, the New Zealand
All Blacks rugby players and professional polo players created many
memorable on (and off) pitch moments.
of the King Power team is presented with the winning trophy by H.E. Privy
Councilor, Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk.
A total of 20 unemployed ex-street elephants took part in this year’s
tournament, during which time they received full veterinary checks from the
Zoological Parks Organisation of Thailand (under the patronage of HM the
King of Thailand) and the Department of Livestock Development. In addition,
all elephants were given essential vitamins, food and care which are not
available to them during their normal daily lives.
players go for the ball while the mahouts guide the elephants in the match.
The tournament was introduced to
Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and has grown to become
one of the biggest charitable events in the Kingdom, raising funds for
projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population. THB15
million has been raised this year taking the total raised to date to an
impressive THB 47 million (US$1,300,000).
The money raised from the 2016 tournament will be donated to a variety of
elephant related pro-jects including funding a new mobile clinic in Mae
Taeng, Chiang Mai which has the largest concentration of trekking camps in
Thailand. Funds will also be donated to the Zoological Parks Organisation of
Thailand to support projects to improve the year round lives of the 200
elephants and mahouts in Ban Ta Klang, in Surin Province where the ex-street
elephants face ongoing hardship.
Other significant benefits from the money raised by the tournament include:
the ongoing Thai Elephant Therapy Project which has been underway since 2009
in conjunction with Chiang Mai University’s Department of Occupational
Therapy, with future clinics to include children with Down’s syndrome and
other conditions. A THB 500,000 gantry to help lame elephants stand, donated
to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC); 4,000 trees planted in Hua
Hin for elephant corridors to stop farmer/elephant conflicts; funding a
conservation curriculum for schools to teach children the importance of
conservation and protection of wild elephants in Thailand and funding Asia’s
first workshop to show traditional elephant trainers and camp owners the
benefits of Positive Reinforcement Training for captive elephants.
The event has something for everyone, kicking off with a spectacular opening
parade, with the opening ceremony overseen by Thailand’s last ‘elephant
spirit men’ (Kruba Yai), traditional dancers, plus the daily trunk-to-trunk
action on the pitch.
Day two saw the tournament host one thousand children from schools all over
Bangkok. Known as Chang Noi Day (Little Elephant Day), the children were
invited to get up close with the elephants and learn more about their
national animal. A range of educational walks, games and activities all
teaching the benefits of elephant conservation and wellbeing were showcased
by the organisers.
Saturday was ‘Ladies Day’ known as ‘Bangkok’s Ascot’ where ladies from all
walks of life dressed to impress with the best dressed lady winning major
prizes including a trip to Paris. On pitch, an exhibition penalty shoot off
between the New Zealand All Blacks rugby players Olo Brown, Robin Brooke and
Charles Riechelmann and Thailand’s most famous trans-gender cabaret show
members Miss Tiffany – the All Black’s showing their sporting prowess by
The highly anticipated final was presided over by the King of Thailand’s
Royal representative, H.E. Privy Councilor, Air Chief Marshal Chalit
Pukbhasuk. Reigning champions King Power went head to head with rival team
Rueang Chang in the finals and managed to retain the coveted King’s Cup
trophy by scoring two goals in the dying moments of the match, resulting in
a final score of 9-7.
Thai Freedom House celebrates ten years of service to the community
Lisa Nesser was joined by Shan and Thai speaking staff to give a tri-lingual
talk on the work being done at Thai Freedom House.
Thai Freedom House celebrated its tenth anniversary at a gala party held in
the courtyard of the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center behind Three Kings
Monument on Saturday, March 12, 2016. The charming old colonial building,
which dates back to 1927 and acted as the first Provincial Hall for Chiang
Mai, was the ideal backdrop for the charming Shan dancers that took the
dancers took to the stage to delight the crowd with their performance at the
ten year anniversary party
Guests at the party enjoyed the dances, a photo exhibition, and delicious
vegetarian Shan delicacies along with the opportunity to take photos in
traditional dress and purchase hand made goods.
Thai Freedom House provides education in Thai, English, Shan and Burmese and
works with the local migrant community and ethnic minority groups to provide
better opportunities through education and training. Thai Freedom House also
provides mosquito nets, beds and clothing to construction camps throughout
Chiang Mai, making life inside the camps a little more bearable for the
workers and their families.
students ready to take the stage at the party.
Thai Freedom House is supported by the
popular vegetarian restaurant Freebird Café and the adjacent thrift store
where donations of all kinds are accepted. Those which can be of use to
migrant workers and refugees are passed along while those that won’t fit or
are inappropriate for their lifestyles are sold and the donations used to
purchase supplies to help those in need.
(Kim) Chutima and Tim McGuire of Old Chiangmai enjoyed traditional herbal
drinks and snacks while they watched the show.
Chiang Mai Night Safari holds ten year anniversary party
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Acting for Director of
Pingkanakorn Devleopment Agency, four sub-district headmen and Chiang Mai
Night Safari staff in a group photo at the 10 year anniversary party.
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun visits one of the elephants
enjoying the khantoke dinner at the party.
The Chiang Mai Night Safari held a celebration for the tourist attraction’s
tenth anniversary on March 10, 2016 presided over by Dr. Sarawut Srisakun,
Acting for Director of Pingkanakorn Devleopment Agency and four sub-district
The celebration was held by the Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public
Organization) by the Office of Chiang Mai Night Safari held the celebration
under the theme of “One decade of Chiang Mai Night Safari creates good
relations with communities in four sub-districts and returns happiness to
animals” event on the occasion of the 10 year anniversary and entering the
11the year of the Chiang Mai Night Safari.
Mr. Weerapol Boonchuduang, Director of Animal Welfare Management reminisced
on the animals at the Safari, noting that there are 140 different kinds of
animals totaling 1,500 animals. The Chiang Mai Night Safari also provided
100 bags of organic fertilizer and promotes and supports agricultural
careers in four sub-districts. He said that during the past 10 years, over
7,000,000 people have visited Chiang Mai Night Safari.
There was a khantoke dinner for the many of the animals at the Night Safari
including elephants, ponies, sheep, snakes, rabbits, deer, and iguana. There
were many tourists and students participating in the event.
Mayor visits Chiang Mai International Rotary water safety project
Kids from the class along with their teachers,
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, members of his team and Chiang Mai
International Club Rotary members at the pool for the visit.
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn visited the Bronco Kids Sports Club swimming
pool inside the Old City on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 to review the Chiang
Mai International Rotary Club’s progress on their Children’s Water Safety
Project with Natthasak Thawudom, or Kru Payu as he is known to his students
and friends, and his team at Broncos Kids Pool. Rotarian John Schorr, who
has been working closely with Kru Payu on the project with Chiang Mai
International Rotary, chatted with the Mayor about the development of the
project and lessons. Kru Payu also explained to the Mayor about the program
that has been developed on how to teach kids to be safe in water.
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn (4th
right) Natthasak Thawudom (center) and Rotarians John Schorr (3rd right) and
Joe Evans (far right) are joined by officials from the Ministry of Health
and Ministry of Education to observe the class in session.
As John Schorr explained to the Mayor and his team from the Ministry of
Health and Education, drowning is the number one cause of death for children
in Thailand and the Club plans on networking with other clubs and
organizations to train teachers in how to teach children to be safe in
water. Kru Payu teaches basic water safety skills including flotation, and
other swimming skills to kids from schools that he and the Club select,
targeting schools with large populations of underprivileged kids. This is
the third class that the Club has sponsored with Kru Payu and his team,
teaching 36 kids from a city school.
Natthasak Thawudom (Kru Payu) explains to Chiang
Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn about the classes and the lesson in progress
at Bronco Kids Sports Club on March 2, 2016.
As the two explained to the Mayor, over 1300 children drown each year in
Thailand and the Club hopes to reduce that number through this program. The
Mayor is very happy to support this project in the city schools and has
provided a bus to bring kids from school to the pool for each class, he
said. He added that it was great to see Chiang Mai International Rotary Club
so involved in helping the local people.
The Chiang Mai Municipality is covering the
costs of transportation to bring the kids to the lessons each week.