Monday, September 26, 2011

Will Thailand's Luck Change with Yingluck? (A Public Lecture by Somchai Phatharathananunth)

3 October 2011 (Monday)
10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon

Conference Room
Third World Studies Center
Lower Ground Floor
Palma Hall
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Roxas Avenue, University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City

Despite winning an absolute majority in the Thai parliament, the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faces an uncertain future. Why does a government whose political party won 16 million votes, larger than any government in Thailand’s history, worry about its future? Led by the 44-year old businesswoman with no previous political experience, Pheu Thai Party won 265 of 500 parliamentary seats in the 3 July 2011 elections, only the second time a single party had won an absolute majority. Born in Chiang Mai, Yingluck graduated from Chiang Mai University (BA Public Ad) and Kentucky State University (MA Public Ad) and was President of giant property developer, SC Assets, a firm founded by her brother, ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose regime ushered in intense political conflicts before he was toppled in a 2006 military coup. What are the roots of the political conflicts that have rocked the kingdom since the 2006 coup? What is the nature of state power in Thailand? What is the impact of socio-economic and political changes in the last three decades on the dynamics of the current crisis?

Dr. Somchai Phatharathananunth is with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Mahasarakham University in Northeast Thailand. He has a PhD in political science, Leeds University, UK. His dissertation, later published by NIAS Press, entitled Civil Society and Democratization: Social Movements in Northeast Thailand examined the struggles of a rural social movement, the Small Scale Farmers’ Assembly of Isan (SSFAI), and the role of civil society in the democratization process. The book’s external reviewer described it as a “sophisticated, well-researched and extremely important contribution to Thai political studies.” He was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University in 2010. He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the UP Third World Studies Center and a recipient of an Asian Public Intellectual (API) grant to study Philippine social movements.

Organized by the Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA Philippines) and the UP Third World Studies Center.

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