Australia-Thailand Intstitute

Australia-Thailand Institute Funded Programs

Public Policy Program

Support democratic governance and public administration in Thailand

Generation 21: Asia-Pacific New Leaders' Dialogue

In November 2009 the ATI supported Australian and Thai participants in the Generation 21: Asia-Pacific New Leaders' Dialogue, hosted by Indonesia's Modernisator and Australia's Asialink. The Dialogue focused on young leaders in the Asia-Pacific and brought together 58 emerging leaders from 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region to exchange views in a unique televised format. The program consisted of roundtable discussions, a one-day leadership forum and a website broadcast where emerging leaders met and shared ideas with existing leaders.

Group of participants seated on stage, from the audience's perspective
Participants in the Asia-Pacific New Leaders Dialogue in a televised discussion. Photo courtesy of Asialink

Trade and Economic Reform

Promote awareness of trade and investment opportunities in Thailand and Australia respectively, particularly those associated with the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

Making the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement Work for You

The ATI co-hosted a one day seminar with the Thai Board of Investment (BOI) and the Thai Trade Centre entitled, Making the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement Work for You. The seminar, which attracted over 100 participants, was held in Melbourne at the Crown Promenade Conference Centre on 21 July 2010.

The ATI Chairman, Mr Mike Courtnall moderated the event. The keynote speakers included HE Dr Kriangsak Kittichaisaree, Thailand's Ambassador to Australia; Ms Maurine Lam, Regional Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, ASEAN North and Minister Commercial to Thailand Austrade; Ms Suangjai Asawachintachit, Assistant Secretary General, Thailand BOI; Mr Jason Ellis, President, BlueScope Steel Thailand; and Mr Andrew Durieux, President, AustCham Thailand.

All speakers highlighted the resilience the Thai economy had demonstrated in overcoming recent political and social unrest and the combined effects of the Asian and global financial crises.

keynote speaker panel sat at a long desk in front of some banners
The TAFTA Seminar keynote speaker panel (from left to right): Mr Mike Courtnall, ATI Chairman; HE Dr Kriangsak Kittichaisaree, Thai Ambassador to Australia; Ms Maurine Lam, Regional Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner: ASEAN North and Minister Commercial to Thailand Austrade; Ms Suangjai Asawachintachit, Assistant Secretary General, Thailand BOI; Mr Jason Ellis, President, BlueScope Steel Thailand; and Mr Andrew Durieux, President, AustCham Thailand.

Resurgent Thailand: Future Prospects through Australian Eyes

Mr Lindsay Fox addresses seminar attendees (Photo courtesy of Colin MacKenzie).

The Australia Thailand Business Council (ATBC) hosted a seminar in Melbourne on 20 October 2010 to provide insights into Thailand's current political and economical situation for people seeking to do business in Thailand.

The program commenced with an academic seminar opened by the Thai Ambassador, Kriangsak Kittichaisaree and was followed by a business forum and luncheon at which Mr Lindsay Fox, founder of LinFox gave a keynote address focussing on his experience on doing business in Thailand. Leading Asian business advisers also shared their experiences and successes in Thailand during an interactive session.

Over 100 participants attended the event. The seminar facilitated exchange between the academic and business communities and highlighted investment and trade opportunities that exist in Thailand. The event also provided an excellent opportunity for businesses, decision makers and academics to promote the Thailand Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

Education Program

Encourage contact, cooperation and/or collaboration between people, NGOs and other institutions in priority areas identified by the ATI especially in the education sector.

Developing, delivering and evaluating the Australian-Thai primary health care and nurse practitioner role

The ATI supported a series of educational seminars and service visits in Thailand to equip relevant Thai participants with a better understanding of the preparation of nurses for Australian primary health care and nurse practitioner roles.

The project involved an academic exchange between Australia Catholic University (ACU) and Chiang Mai University for students undertaking Primary Care and Nurse Practioner courses. The experience broadened students’ awareness and understanding of values, cultural norms and traditions and the impact of these upon education and nursing practice.

The program was led by Dr. Sue Webster, a Thai-born academic with a PhD in Public Health and Professor Violeta Lopez, who holds a PhD in Nursing (Transcultural).

Dr Sue Webster (centre) and Dr Violeta Lopez (second from left) visit a Primary Care Clinic and patients in Chiang Mai with a Thai Nurse Practitioner (far left). Photos courtesy of Dr Webster, Australia Catholic University

Research and Development of curriculum for Thai LOTE for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

The Thai Language School of Melbourne received ATI funding to develop a curriculum for Thai language as a Language Other Than English (LOTE) to become an accredited subject in Victorian schools.

A panel of experts in Thai language education from the Department of Education Victoria, Australian National University, the Department of Defence, the Thai Language School of Melbourne and various independent Thai teachers came together to develop the requirements for producing a Thai LOTE curriculum.

A research survey was also conducted. Australian students with a Thai background were surveyed on their interest in studying Thai at years 11 and 12. The results confirmed strong interest in Thai language being taught at a senior level and becoming part of the national curriculum.

Finally, a Thai language curriculum was researched and produced by a Curriculum Committee formed of participants from both Australia and Thailand. This will be submitted to the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority for consideration.

A speaker presents at a seminar for developing a curriculum for Thai language as a LOTE in Victorian schools (Photo courtesy of Dr Sopha Cole).

A Thai-Australian Solution to the World's Worst Water Weed: Using Water Hyacinths in Building Products

Ms Suchanya Viwatsakpol, Materials Engineering student at Kasetsart University, Bangkok and Mr John Forbes, Engineering student at the University of Technology Sydney led a joint-research project investigating a material science-led solution to an ecological problem common to both Australia and Thailand.

The project sought to develop an ecologically sound and economically viable small-industry based building composite using water hyacinth (Pak Tob Chawa) fibres as reinforcement. Water Hyacinth is known as one of the world's worst water weeds and until recently the only control methods have been mechanical or herbicidal; both of these are expensive and have adverse ecological effects.

Students had the opportunity to visit each country, work in cross-cultural teams and conduct their own experiments. The results were presented at two seminars held in both Bangkok, Thailand and Sydney, Australia and a journal paper is expected to be finalised later in 2011.

Culture, the Arts and Sports Program

Broaden awareness and understanding in Australia and Thailand of each other's culture, values and traditions including sport.

Akha Traditional Dance

The Ayui Foundation received ATI funding for a project to teach young women at the Baan Ayui hostel to make traditional Akha dress and traditional Akha dances and songs. Baan Ayui is a hostel run by the Ayui Foundation, a non-profit, non-denominational organisation in Chiang Rai Thailand that works with young at risk hill-tribe people.

The project was documented by Julianne Cowly, Ayui Board Member, who travelled to Chiang Mai as a photojournalist. Julianne has worked in Indigenous education and community development for a number of years. The images she took will be used to promote understanding of the hill tribe people of northern Thailand among Australians.

Akha children making traditional dress. Each outfit requires metres and metres of stitching and beading. Photo courtesy of Julianne Cowly
Akha hill tribe girls show off their new traditional costumes. Photo courtesy of Julianne Cowly