UBU visits Thai Embassy, Phnom Penh
On 25 October 2007, Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice President for International Cooperation, and Associate Professor Sommai Chinnak, Faculty of Liberal Arts lecturer in Khmer Studies, made a courtesy call on HE Dr Vraphadn Vatcharathit, Thai Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, at the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. Dr Patareeya informed the Ambassador about recent activities at UBU and its future collaboration with institutions in Cambodia.
UBU visits to Secretariat of the Cambodian Senate in Phnom Penh
On 25 October 2007, Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice President for International Cooperation, and Associate Professor Sommai Chinnak, Faculty of Liberal Arts lecturer in Khmer Studies, made a courtesy call on Madame Pheng Kuntheaborey, Chief of Protocol to the President of the Cambodian Senate, in Phnom Penh.
JICA visits UBU
On 30 October 2007, Mr Kogeyama Hiroyuki and Ms Sumanee Nutamakul from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from the Embassy of Japan in Bangkok visited UBU. Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice President for International Cooperation, Dr Kungwan Thummasaeng, Vice President for Research, and Dr Sittha Jaensirisak, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering met with them to discuss the work plan for JICA Senior Volunteer to UBU who is part of the one year urban planning project commencing in 2008. The project was initiated by the Department of Civil Engineering and facilitated by the Division of International Cooperation.
Formation of Joint Study Programs in GMS
On 18-19 October 2007, the third follow-up workshop titled Formation of Joint Study Programs in GMS was organized at AITCC, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Patumthani.
The workshop was sponsored by the Thai Government and organized by GMSARN at AIT. Participants were representatives from member universities from Yunnan Province in PR China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand. Guest participants from interested institutions in Thailand were also invited. An overview of the present situation in the countries along the Mekong River was presented by Professor Charnwit Kasetsiri, former President of Thammasat University. Workshop activities involved the development of joint course programs in the GMS. The preliminary concept for course development was problem-based and interdisciplinary in nature, covering content areas relating to issues in the GMS as a region. Four courses were proposed by the group members. Course implementation will be discussed at a later stage.
Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice President for International Cooperation, Dr Kungwan Thummasaeng, Vice President for Research, and Dr Sittha Jaensirisak, Secretary of the Mekong Region Studies Institute, participated in the workshop.
Presentation of the award of an honorary doctorate to Samdech Chia Sim, President of Cambodian Senate by UBU
On 27 September 2007 a UBU delegation consisting of Professor Chomchin Jandrasakul, President of the University Council, Professor Yuwat Wudhimedhi, Deputy President of the Council, Professor Prakob Wirojanagud, President, Assistant Professor Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice President for International Cooperation, and administrative staff visited Phnom Penh to present an honorary doctoral degree in Integral Development Studies to Samdech Chia Sim, President of the Cambodian Senate. The ceremony was impressively organized at Jatumuk Hall and attended by a number of high ranked Cambodian officials and more than 400 people. On the same day, Samdech Chia Sim graciously invited the UBU delegation to visit his residence in Phnom Penh where he expressed his appreciation of the award and stated that he looked forward to attending the UBU graduation ceremony in December.
THE 2008 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR THAILAND AND ITS NEIGHBORS
Presentation by Dr Kevin F.F. Quigley
(Fulbright Senior Specialist at the UBU Division of International Cooperation)
UBU was honoured to host a presentation by Dr Kevin F.F. Quigley, Fulbright Senior Specialist at the UBU Division of International Cooperation on 19.9.07 in the Sri Muang Mai Conference Room, Office of UBU President Building, titled The 2008 US Presidential Elections: Implications for Thailand and its Neighbors.The presentation was attended by about 100 students and staff from faculties across the university.
Kevin is President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association, himself having been a Peace Corps volunteer in Loei and Ubon in the 1970s. He is very familiar with Thailand and issues relating to South-East Asia, and he speaks Thai and retains close affiliations with individuals and organisations throughout the region. He has extensive experience in leadership roles in business, academia, and non-government operations, and has been visiting Ubon as a guest of the Division of International Cooperation advising in the development of the UBU Mekong Regional Studies Institute (MRSI).
Kevin spoke about the prospective candidates in the 2008 US elections and his views about what may happen as a result of a Republican or Democrat victory. Throughout, he highlighted the significance of the elections and the results for Thailand specifically and for South-East Asia generally.
His comments were met by a number of questions from the floor from students and staff about gender issues associated with the prospect of a Hilary Clinton victory, issues generally related to voting trends related to matters of policy, race, gender, and social class, and the future attitude of the US government to the terrorist situation in Southern Thailand.
During his stay as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at the Division from 28 August to 21 September 2007, Kevin acted as a consultant on networking and connecting with funding sources for the steering committee members of the newly established MRSI. He also conducted workshops on Leaders Who Network at Kasetsart University, Ubon Rajathanee University, Khon Kaen University, Ubon Rajabhat University and the National University of Laos in Vientiane.
The project for Kevin’s visit was jointly funded by Fulbright Foundation and MSRI, with Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn as UBU’s main project facilitator. UBU wishes to thank Kevin for his contribution to the university during his stay in Ubon. Also, thanks are extended to Khun Porntip Kanchananiyos, Director of Fulbright Bangkok, for her support, the universities that co-operated with UBU in organizing the workshops, and all those participants who took part in the workshops and presentations.
Division of International Cooperation
Formation of Research and Education Projects in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS)
On 10 August 2007, the second workshop on Formation of Research and Education Projects in the Greater Mekong Sub-region was organized at KKU Academic Center Building, Khon Kaen University.
The workshop was sponsored by the Thai Government and organized by Greater Mekong Sub-region Academic and Research Network (GMSARN). Participants included representatives from universities in Yunnan Province in China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand, and interested persons from other institutions in Thailand. The main goal of the workshop was to launch a new Greater Mekong Sub-region Energy and Environment Network (GMSEENet) website, to introduce free and open source knowledge management tools, and to discuss the establishment of joint degree programs.The UBU delegation consisted of Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice President for International Cooperation, Dr Kungwan Thummasaeng, Vice President for Research, Dr Sittha Jaensirisak, Secretary of the Mekong Region Studies Institute, and Dr Suchada Taweesit, Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts.
On 22 August 2007, Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, UBU Vice-President for International Cooperation, Dr Kevin Quigley, UBU Fulbright Senior Specialist, and Dr Seree Weroha, Consultant of AmLao Company met with Khun Rujikorn Saengjantr, First Secretary of the Thai Embassy in Washington DC.
Khun Rujikorn informed the group about recent initiatives of the Thai Embassy in promoting collaboration in higher education between Thai and US higher education institutions, such as the Thai Studies Program, and Think Tanks. Possibilities about the involvement UBU in these initiatives were discussed.
As a result of contacts established by Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice-President for International Cooperation, during her Visiting Scholar program funded by the Fulbright organisation at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa in 2006, 10 students from the School of Second Languages at that university participated in the UBU-UH Project. This involved the UH students presenting the course Intensive English to 26 year 1 students in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) (International Program) in the Faculty of Management Science at UBU as part of their master degree program supervised by Professor Richard Day, Head of the Department of Second Language Studies at UH.
Initial discussions about the project took place in November 2006 between Dr Patareeya, Bob Tremayne, English Consultant in the Division of International Cooperation, Professor Day, and representatives of the Faculty of Management Science. Following these discussions, planning took place in Ubon and Hawaii, involving frequent communication between the 2 institutions.
The teaching part of the project commenced on Monday 4 June and continued for 4 days per week for 8 weeks, concluding on Thursday 26 July. In this time, BBA students received 144 hours of face-to-face instruction in small group contexts in English reading, writing, and speaking and listening. Pre- and post-tests showed a marked increase in BBA students’ English ability, preparing them for their further studies in subjects delivered in English.
The project also involved Do It!, a program of out-of-class activities conducted twice a week in a range of areas, such as cooking and film-making, and a field trip exploring some of the attractions of local national parks. In these ways, BBA and UH students were able to interact socially, exchange cultural ideas, and use languages in a variety of contexts.
Evaluations completed at the end of the project by UBU and UH personnel were extremely positive. UH students commented on their personal, professional, and cultural development – “…opportunity to live and work, teach and learn from another culture…;” “I had an incredible amount of fun and was always surrounded by the nicest people…” BBA students remarked about their improvement in skills and welcomed the opportunities to gain more confidence in communicating with “farangs.”
It is anticipated that the project will take place again in 2008 with a new group of UH students and a fresh collection of BBA year 1 students. In this way, international links between UBU and UH may be strengthened for the mutual benefit of both institutions.
Visit by Delegation from Savannaket Technical and Vocational College to UBU
On 10 July 2007, Mr Vongsavanh Viangmany, Director of Savannaket Technical and Vocational College and a group of college administrators, visited Ubon Rajathanee University to investigate the possibility of initiating a Memorandum of Understanding between the 2 institutions. The college is located in Savannaket province, Lao PDR, across the Mekong River from Mukdahan province, Thailand, and it presents courses in Engineering, Management Science, and some vocational subjects. The group visited the Faculty of Engineering and was welcomed by Dr Sathaporn Pokha, Dean of Engineering, and lecturers. The Savannaket group also visited the Faculty of Management Science and made a request for assistance in their staff development. As a result, 5 teaching staff from Savannaket College will commence study in 2008 at the bachelor degree level in the Faculty of Management Science and their tuition fees will be waived.
New Lao Students Visit UBU President
On June 13 2007, Assistant Professor Dr Patareeya Wisaijorn, Vice-President for International Cooperation, and Mr Sombat Wotong, Dean of the Faculty of Law, accompanied 7 master degree scholarship students from Laos to meet Professor Dr Prakob Wirojanagud, UBU President. These students are enrolled to commence their studies in 2007 as part of the staff development cooperation project between UBU and National University of Laos (NUL).
UH Students Say Hello to Professor Prakob
On the same day, Dr Wisaijorn, Professor Dr Richard R. Day, Chair of Second Language Studies at University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa, and a number of master degree students from UH met the President. Professor Day and the students are in Ubon for 8 weeks, teaching English to Bachelor of Business Administration (International Program) students in the Faculty of Management Science under the cooperation project between UBU and UH.