CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat is hosting nearly 40 ambassadors and their spouses from 20 countries, as they explore the northern culture of Chiang Rai Thailand and Myanmar, with the aim of strengthening and extending cultural cooperation between Thailand and Asean countries.
Since 2008, the ministry has hosted cultural trips for diplomatic corps across Thailand and neighbouring countries, including Laos and Cambodia. This year’s four-day trip to Chiang Rai, and Keng Tung in Myanmar, began on Thursday and ends tomorrow.
Among other activities, participants in the Diplomacy Trip will explore Baan Dam, a private museum founded by the late National Artist Thawatchai Duchanee, the Prince of Mothers Museum (Mae Fah Luang) and the Doi Tung sustainable development project. “Culture is a soft power to help strengthen diplomatic relationship in terms of culture and economy,” said Vira.
Chiang Rai will get the attention of diplomats from around the world, and will be promoted on the trip as one of Thailand’s three “Art Cities” (the others are Krabi and Nakhon Ratchasima).
The culture of Myanmar’s Keng Tung will also get premium exposure as that nation’s Foreign Ministry joins in the hosting.
“We hope the ambassadors help spread our rice culture to the world,” Vira said.
The ambassadors were said to be excited about the opportunity to learn about Thai culture. Among them is Cambodia’s Ambassador Long Visalo.
“This cultural trip is interesting,” said the ambassador. “I learned more about how Thai artists turned their home studio into an art museum at Baan Dam. Meanwhile, visiting Mae Fah Luang museum and Doi Tung, I learned how clever the late King Bhumibol [Adulyadej] and his mother were to turn opium into a beautiful garden and sustainable community.
“Such cultural development can be adapted to fit with other Asean countries,” said Ambassador Long Visalo.
By Phatarawadee Phataranawik