In September 2017, DAAD and friends celebrated 60 years in Thailand with a reception at the German Embassy, a celebratory lecture at Chulalongkorn University and a big event together with the alumni association VTD.
Dear Friends of DAAD Thailand,
A few days ago, I’ve had the chance to visit the wonderful Kingdom of Thailand and participated in celebrations commemorating 60 years of DAAD in Thailand. To me this is a very special occasion, as I’ve spent five years of my life teaching as a DAAD-Lektorin at the University of Chiang Mai. Therefore academic exchange with Thailand is very close to my heart and I am glad to see the successful development that our common endeavour has taken.
During a celebratory lecture at Chulalongkorn University we talked a lot about the first DAAD-Lektor, Dr. Georg Heuser, who, in 1957, started teaching there. But I’ve also learned a lot from a very forward-looking head of the German section, Dr. Thanakon Kaewwipat, explaining the reform of curricula for German keeping up with developments. Globally the demand is shifting from generalist knowledge of German language and literature towards more specific applications of German language.
At DAAD we envision Thailand as an education hub for South East Asia, reaching out to the neighbouring CLMV countries, building networks in the region together with European partners. Thailand has a number of excellent universities to take the lead in their specific fields of research. New opportunities for collaboration have been discussed in the field of regional studies, information technology and engineering to name just a few.
On Sunday the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr. Prajin Juntong addressed DAAD scholars and former Thai students in Germany at a reception commemorating 50 years of VTD alumni association and 60 years of DAAD. He underlined the utmost importance of education on the path towards Thailand 4.0. The development of study programmes in close co-operation with both the industry and top-level research is a key to have the highly skilled workforce needed within the framework of the fourth industrial revolution.
After 60 years of successful Thai-German partnership and friendship, DAAD is looking forward to fostering more common networks of excellent research and international exchange. This will be possible in a joint effort together with our partners like the Thailand Research Fund and regional organisations like SEAMEO or others.
Speaking for the German Academic Exchange Service, I do wish our countries a long and prosperous journey through academic collaboration!
The third and final Science Lecture for 2017 was held at Chulalongkorn University under the topic of 60 years of DAAD and German Studies at Chulalongkorn University.
The history of German Language and Literature in Thailand is closely interwoven with the history of DAAD in Thailand. However, today we reach far beyond German studies at CU, there are many exchange programmes between Thai and German universities, doctoral candidates from Thailand do their research in Germany and a German professor currently holds a fellowship in the Faculty of Arts.
Dr. Rüland was welcomed at the historic Mahachulalongkorn Building by Chulalongkorn University’s President Prof. Bundhit Eua-arporn, who greeted about sixty participants and officially opened the lecture.
Dr. Thanakon Kaewwipat laid out the challenges of modernising German Studies in a globalising world with demand shifting from classic "Germanistik" towards a more applied approach leading to specialised fields ranging from German as a Foreign Language to Comparative Linguistics or Translation Science.
Prof. Dr. Fritz Hartung who is visiting Chulalongkorn University as a Herder Fellow gave an introduction into the Herder fellowship programme designed for retired German professors who want to provide their expertise to universities in developing or emerging countries.
Lecturers from the German Section at Chulalongkorn, recent and former DAAD lecturers and colleagues at DAAD's headquarters compiled a Festschrift to celebrate the anniversary. The first copies were handed over by Prof. Ampha Otrakul to Prof. Bundhit, Dr. Rüland, Prof. Kingkarn, Mr. Zuchan and Prof. Hartung.
After concluding the event, Dr. Rüland joined colleagues from the German section at Chulalongkorn University for an informal lunch. Afterwards an extraordinary meeting of the German section was held together with the Secretary-General. Concerns regarding the strategic re-positioning of German studies were discussed. DAAD and their lecturers sent to Thailand still play a crucial role in a subject that has diversified and professionalised remarkably during the past decades.
The DAAD maintains a long-standing cooperation with Thammasat University, including support for German experts teaching at Thammasat, fellowships for researchers to facilitate Thai-German research projects and scholarships for students. In 2009 the German-Southeast Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance (CPG) was established as an academic institute and think tank as well as a provider of advisory services and facilitator. Four universities are the backbone of the CPG: Thammasat University, Frankfurt University, Münster University, and Passau University.
Dr. Rüland was cordially welcomed in fluent German by Asst. Prof. Dr. Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, Vice Rector for Administration and Sustainability. Prof. Prinya discussed current developments at Thai universities with his guest including the importance of the freedom thought and the role of critical thinking in creating a society who is able to achieve the vision of Thailand 4.0.
DAAD Thailand and Thai-German alumni association VTD hosted a celebratory alumni meeting at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok to commemorate 50 years of VTD and 60 years of DAAD in Thailand.
The event’s topic was “Thailand 4.0 through the eyes of Germany Alumni” and we were very honoured to have the Deputy Prime Minister Prajit Juntong opening the event together with Dr. Rüland from DAAD, ACM Tares from NBTC, HE MR. Prügel from the German Embassy and AM Wirod from VTD.
After many discussions on the way forward for Thailand 4.0 and the importance of higher education along the way, Dr. Rüland seized the opportunity to ask Students from neighbouring countries on stage to receive their scholarship certificates. These young scholars are supported by DAAD to study at selected centres of excellence in Thailand.
Congratulations to all of them and thank you for making it such a memorable evening!
Two generations ago in 1957 Dr. Georg Heuser started the first DAAD lectureship at Chulalongkorn University to support the young programme of German studies in the Faculty of Arts. What we know today as the German Section started with a few lecturers who just returned from studies and training at the Goethe Institut Munich. Georg Heuser taught German language courses and established a long line of DAAD representatives in Thailand.
Today German Studies has grown to a proper subject and research area, ranging from undergraduates to PhD candidates. DAAD Thailand has established an Information Centre and we look at five German lecturers, two language assistants, two counsellors and an intern.
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