High-level delegation from Thailand visits the Faculty of Humanities

On 9 May, Professor Pornchai Matangkasombut, former Rector of Mahidol University, Thailand’s leading institution of higher education, visited the Faculty of Humanities to discuss possibilities of future academic and research collaboration in the field of humanities. He arrived at the Faculty of Humanities together with Dr Oraphan Matangkasombut and high-ranking diplomats from the Royal Thai Embassy of Budapest. Led by His Excellency Mr Krit Kraichitti, Ambassador of Thailand, the delegation participated in talks with Dr Tamás Dezső, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Dr Ferenc Pál, Vice-Dean for International Affairs, Dr András Balogh, full-professor of the Institute of Historical Studies and former Ambassador of Hungary to Thailand as well as other executives and members of the Faculty of Humanities.

Dr Matangkasombut, an internationally recognized scholar with a wealth of experience in higher education, emphasized that “student mobility, especially at undergraduate level, should be the long-term mission of any institution, and this form of intercultural exchange will hopefully play a significant role in building further bridges between Thailand and Hungary.” He added that “students from both countries ought to be exposed to new cultures and languages, but in addition to conducting their formal studies in academia, they must also learn a great deal from one another’s experiences. It is this interaction among young people that both Thailand and Hungary should facilitate by providing exchange programs and allowing students to gain insight into their respective cultures.”

Ambassador Kraichitti underscored the importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries and said that “education is the best means to promote cooperation in all areas, and both Thailand and Hungary have been extremely proactive in research and education.” He also emphasized that Thailand has recently come to play a decisive role in promoting elite education within the country and in the Southeast Asian region. “I should like to see that an even stronger link is established between our countries, and there is hardly a better way than education and student exchange to achieve this goal. Thailand is not only an economic powerhouse of the region, but it is also a gateway of transport that seeks to facilitate the movement of young people who wish to acquaint themselves with the multifaceted cultures of the whole region,” added Ambassador Kraichitti.

The parties at the discussion also talked about the possibility of setting up a Southeast Asian Center at the Faculty of Humanities, which could serve as a springboard to successfully promote Thailand’s unique culture in Hungary and further deepen the academic discourse in the area of humanities. Dean Dezső commented that Dr Balogh, who is a seasoned diplomat and an expert on Southeast Asian issues, will assume a leading role in managing the Southeast Asian Center to be formed. “Exchange programs present an excellent opportunity for students to visit and live in different countries and to gain crucial experiences and skills for their later careers. I believe that cooperating more intensely with Thailand will not only broaden the international portfolio of the Faculty of Humanities, but it will also enhance the educational ties between the two countries. I wholeheartedly welcome the initiative of bringing Southeast Asian and Thai culture and civilization closer to those Hungarian students who evince an interest in learning more about this region of the world,” concluded Dean Dezső.

Rudolf Sárdi