Two Thai Government ministers and a professor of agronomy have been honoured as distinguished graduates of The University of Western Australia at two ceremonies in Thailand.
They are the first such awards to be made to graduates from Thailand and mark the contribution of UWA's international graduates to their home countries and the broader international community.
At the Australian Embassy in Bangkok today, UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson presented Distinguished International Alumnus Awards to Dr Narongchai Akrasanee and Associate Professor Varakorn Samakoses. Yesterday, a similar award was made to Professor Benjavan Rerkasem.
Dr Akrasanee is a former Minister of Commerce and a Senator with the Thai Government. He graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Economics with Honours in 1967, as a Colombo Plan student. He followed this with a Masters and PhD in Economics from John Hopkins University and was a research Fellow at Kobe University. He has been President of the Australia-Thailand and the Thailand-New Zealand Business Councils.
Associate Professor Samakoses is a former Deputy Minister of Education with the Thai Government. He graduated from UWA in 1970 with a Bachelor of Economics and took a Masters and a PhD in Economics at the University of Kansas. He has held visiting professorships at universities around the world.
Professor Rerkasem, a professor of agronomy, graduated with a BSc in Agriculture with Honours from UWA in 1969, followed by a PhD in Plant Nutrition in 1977. A major legacy of her contributions to local agriculture has been her training of postgraduate students, many of whom are now in positions in private and Government sectors, helping to build capacity throughout the region.
"For almost a century, The University of Western Australia has produced graduates who have made major contributions to the economic and social wellbeing of local, national and international communities. As part of the University's commitment to achieving international excellence, we are proud that our international graduates continue to make enormous contributions within their communities and society generally," Professor Robson said.
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716