About 200 Thai and international academics, researchers, and specialists in various fields will gather to discuss ways to improve the quality of life at an international conference, to be organized by the Royal Institute of Thailand, in celebration of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 84th birthday this year.
The “International Conference for the Celebrations on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary 5th December 2011” will take place at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok between November 16 and 18. It is entitled “The Role of the Learned Societies in Improving the Quality of Life in the Context of Globalization.”
The three-day event will focus on the theme of Sufficiency Economy, a philosophy initiated by His Majesty the King as an innovative approach to development designed for practical application over a wide range of problems and situations. Twenty-five years prior to Thailand’s experiencing a serious economic downturn in 1997, His Majesty the King had urged Thai people to practice what the King later described as a “sufficiency economy.” Sufficiency Economy is based on three major principles: moderation, rationality, and self-immunization from impacts arising from internal and external changes.
The philosophy is useful for every level of society, from the individual to the family, the community, and the country as a whole. Recognizing the work of His Majesty the King, especially his Sufficiency Economy philosophy, the United Nations Development Program presented the first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to His Majesty in 2006.
The Vice-President of the Royal Institute, Dr. Sobha Spielmann, told a press conference on 17 August 2011 that 16 speakers from 12 countries and 33 from Thailand had been invited to join the upcoming international meeting. The first and the last days of the conference will include plenary sessions. On November 17, the three Academies of the Royal Institute, namely Science, Arts and Social Sciences, and Humanities, will organize concurrent sessions. There will be a gala dinner, with a Thai cultural show on the first day and field trips to three sites on the last day.
Dr. Sobha said that, in order to help cope with many challenges arising in the era of globalization, learned institutions should come up with effective ways to deal with various problems. The Royal Institute is confident that His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy will lead to well-balanced and sustainable development, thus bringing about happiness and a better quality of life. So it decided to host this international conference on how learned societies can help to improve people’s quality of life in a globalizing world, by emphasizing Sufficiency Economy.
For more information about the conference, please call 0-2356-0466-70 ext. 1045 or 5031.
Dr. Sobha also said that the Royal Institute was accepted last May as a full member of the International Union of Academies. This prestigious union of learned societies was founded in 1919, with institutions from 63 countries around the world as members. The admission of the Royal Institute into this union has enhanced Thailand’s international recognition and its role in the global stage.
The Royal Institute has its roots in the Royal Council founded by King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) in 1926. When Thailand became a constitutional monarchy in 1932, the new government likewise understood that a strong academic vision was needed to undergird national development. This was to be achieved by establishing an institute serving as an assembly of scholars in various fields to maintain relations and exchange knowledge with international scholastic organizations, and to conduct research and produce textbooks for students and the general populace. In this way, Thailand would develop scholars in all branches of knowledge so that the country would not be dependent on foreign expertise. Thus, on 31 March 1933, Parliament established the Royal Institute through the Royal Institute Act B.E. 2476 (1933). At present, the Royal Institute Act B.E. 2544 (2001) guides the administration of the Royal Institute.
By virtue the Royal Institute Act B.E. 2544, the Royal Institute is a department of the Government directly supervised by the Prime Minister, but does not form a part of any ministry.
The functions of the Royal Institute as laid down in the law are as follows:
1. To undertake and encourage research in every branch of knowledge beneficial to the nation and the people;
2. To maintain relations and to exchange knowledge and information in all branches of knowledge with other learned institutes in Thailand and in other countries;
3. To act as a consultant and advisory body on academic matters as requested by the Prime Minister or the Cabinet;
4. To give academic help to governmental, semi-governmental, non-governmental, educational, and private organizations, as well as the general public;
5. To compile dictionaries, encyclopedias, and terminology resources in all fields of knowledge, and to coin new words;
6. To establish criteria of Thai usage in order to preserve and promote the Thai language, an element of national identity;
7. To carry out other functions as prescribed by law.