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 Events Summary 2020

Facebook Live: COVID-19 in Thailand and Southeast Asia: Dynamics, Directions, Prospects on Friday, 17th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

COVID-19 in Thailand and Southeast Asia: Dynamics, Directions, Prospects
Friday, 17th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m.


Dr. Panitan Wattanayagorn
Chairman of Prime Minister’s Security Advisory Committee
Associate Professor, Faculty of Political Science
Chulalongkorn University

Dr. Zachary Abuza
Professor of Southeast Asian Politics and Security Studies, The National War College,
Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University,
Washington D.C.

Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak
Director, ISIS Thailand
Faculty of Political Science
Chulalongkorn University 

Facebook Live: ASEAN and COVID-19: A Regional Response? Friday, 10th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m. 

ASEAN and COVID 19: A Regional Response?
Friday, 10th April 2020 at 09.30-11.00 a.m.


Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn
Senior Fellow
ISIS Thailand

Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak
ISIS Thailand 

A Public Forum On – Finding Balance and "Happiness": Individuals, States and the International System at 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Monday, 20th January 2020. 

Happiness is hard to come by and difficult to define. It derives from a complex and moving balance between work and living, between state and society, between faith and reason, encompassing much more than just what gross domestic product and national income stand for. While happiness can be subjective and tough to measure, it is generally considered to be associated with biological, behavioural, and public policy concerns. In a three-level framework of individuals, states, and the international system, this public forum shares experiences and expertise from the Nordic countries that have been ranked consistently among the top of all societies across the world for overall well-being and happiness.
We will start with a keynote talk by Mr Meik Wiking who is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and New York Times Bestselling Author. He will address issues such as how happiness should be measured, how to convert wealth into well-being, explaining why the Nordic model always top global happiness rankings. In addition, we will also listen to local experts who have worked on and practiced health and wellness in Thailand. 

A Public Lecture On - On China: Growth Prospects, Domestic Politics and Geostrategy in the 21st Century at 09.30 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Wednesday, 29th January 2020. 

This public forum features a keynote lecture by Professor Dwight H. Perkins who has studied China and its development for nearly 70 years, since 1954 as a Cornell undergraduate student, including trips to China and meetings with former Chinese leader Deng Xaioping in the 1970s. Professor Perkins has authored numerous books and articles on China, as his profile on google and wikipedia attests. He has also been consultant and advisor to many committees dealing with China and United States-China relations. I can personally assure you that this is a rare opportunity to listen to one of the world’s most authoritative voices on China. Unlike other forums, we will focus mainly on Professor Perkins’s speech, with just one discussant to tease out local and regional implications. 

(April 24, 2020) Misguided myopia of asking the rich 

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's initiative to seek more cooperation and assistance from Thailand's 20 wealthiest billionaires is understandable. Thailand needs all the help it can get to handle and manage the social and economic ravages of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. But making an appeal in writing from the top to the country's richest is short-sighted and misguided on many levels. It displays a government at the end of its tether and a leader who is being forced to own up to mismanaging the country for the past six years. 

(April 17, 2020) Coronavirus blues and clues in Thailand 

It is unanimous that the novel coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A common refrain everywhere in the world is "I have never seen anything like it". Its immediate consequences and longer-term transformational repercussions will be felt for years to come. Covid-19 challenges individuals, societies and state institutions to their very core. For Thailand, re-emerging from this devastating pandemic will be tough and tricky, with trade-offs and hard choices. 

(April 3, 2020) Moral dilemmas of handling the virus 

It is hard to calibrate a commensurate response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Owing to the lack of accurate and reliable information, a media feeding frenzy and the mass psychology of fear, the choice has become all or nothing, not much in between. Individuals, societies and states worldwide are now incentivised to overdo it and err on the side of caution, being safe rather than sorry. This means that the likelihood of "overshooting" with Covid responses is likely to heighten in the foreseeable future in view of morally unacceptable alternatives. 

(April 30, 2020) Watershed Thai media moment? 

A sea change in media-government relations stemming from the daily press briefings on the Covid-19 situation has been one huge side effect of the pandemic. Apart from wearing face masks and social distancing, is this the new normal for Thai media? 

(April 21, 2020) Kudos to Thai Covid-19 fighters 

In the 99 days since Covid-19 hit Thailand, the Prayut Chan-o-cha government has adjusted its handling of the pandemic. For the first 58 days, Gen Prayut continued to behave like a busboy in a local restaurant, trying to do everything from welcoming guests to serving food and cleaning tables. 

(April 7, 2020) Covid Catch-22: Saving lives or rights? 

Faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, several countries have given special powers to their leaders, regardless of the political system in place, to ensure that they can manage and fight the virus efficiently and in a timely manner. There is a high level of anxiety and fear, however, that these special powers, once granted, will be misused in the name of fighting the pandemic. Worse still, in certain countries there is a strong possibility that the special powers might continue and subsequently become a permanent feature in the months and years to come.