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Grant from Thai Embassy boosts Thai studies

October 23, 2007

The Royal Thai Embassy has granted the Center for Southeast Asian Studies nearly $100,000 to support the university’s Thai studies program.

The gift will enhance teaching and research on Thai history, culture, and society. Specifically, it will support the development of certificates in Thai studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with scholarship funds for students specializing in Thai studies. It will enable the library to enhance its collection of Thai print materials, and it will support special conferences, lecture series, and film series relating to Thailand.

The gift will also enable the Center for Southeast Asian Studies to establish a Distinguished Visitor program to bring visiting specialists on Thailand to teach and lecture, expanding on existing academic and professional links between Thailand and UW-Madison.

As one of the world’s oldest surviving monarchies and the largest Theravada Buddhist nation, the Kingdom of Thailand combines a dynamic, modern-looking economy and society with an ancient culture that prides itself on its traditions and historical roots. With a population today of more than 65 million people, Thailand enjoys one of the most rapidly growing economies of Southeast Asia and is a major force in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The study of Thai language and of the history, culture, religions, literatures, politics, and economy of Thailand have been major components in UW-Madison’s Southeast Asia program for nearly 30 years. Recently, these disciplinary concentrations have expanded to include a wide range of other interests, including public health, biological sciences, education, agricultural development, business, and law.

A strong faculty with deep commitments to research and teaching on Thailand has made UW-Madison one of the leading institutions for Thai studies outside of Thailand itself.

The Center for Southeast Asian Studies is housed in UW-Madison’s International Insititute, established by the College of Letters and Science and the Division of International Studies.

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