Bangkok, 18 January 2023 – At the presence of the Honourable Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok Governor, His Excellency Paolo Dionisi presided the inauguration of “ALMA The School Food”, founded to spread Italian food culture in Thailand.
His Excellency Don Antonio Benedetto Spada, Knight of the Royal Order of Saint Januarius, Delegate for Southeast Asia, accompanied by the Vice Delegate and the First Secretary, attended the event organized to celebrate Italian culinary arts in the Kingdom.
Bangkok, 18 January 2023 – At the Foreign Correspondents Club, the Vice Delegate offered a donation to Joseph H. Maeir, the priest simply known as Father Joe in the Bangkok slum community where he lives and works. Few foreigners have achieved such revered status in Thailand. Father Joe co-founded the Human Development Center, better known as the Mercy Center, with a Thai Catholic nun, Sister Maria, in 1973. 2023 marks the priest’s half-century of service to the slum dwellers, providing education from kindergarten level upwards, an outreach program and legal aid services for children trafficked into the sex industry or surviving on the streets. Father Joe was the driving force behind a landmark HIV/AIDS program that fed and housed people of all ages living with AIDS, as well as children orphaned by the disease during the height of the epidemic in the 1990s and beyond. The Mercy Center’s work extended to the indigenous Moken community in southern Thailand following the Asian tsunami in 2004. Its home care program for people living with AIDS — delivered by HIV-positive people — provided a model that was replicated elsewhere in Thailand and Southeast Asia. The priest gained a loyal readership of his Bangkok Post column filled with human stories about the foibles, heartbreaks and strengths of people UN officials call the “urban poor” but he calls “family”. He authored Welcome to the Bangkok Slaughterhouse, and The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions and Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok. The Mercy Center has assisted tens of thousands of Thais in need and garnered recognition from Her Majesty Sirikit, the Queen Mother. The evening at FCCT, which considered the event a “Night of Honour”, celebrated Father Joe’s remarkable life and service, and gave a chance to hear his concerns about how Thailand’s underprivileged still need far more attention. The priest has been joined by Khun Choy, a Mercy Center lifelong staff member, and Tom Crowley, author of Mercy’s Heroes – The Fight for Human Dignity in the Bangkok Slums.
Bangkok, 19 January 2023 – The Vice Delegate attended the inauguration of Walk!, an exhibition showcasing photographs of people who lost a limb to accident or illness held at the Central Embassy shopping mall, officially opened by Princess Lea of Belgium (on Her third private visit to Thailand) and H.S.H. Prince Chalermsuk Yugala. The four-day exhibition is being held in collaboration with the Chao Phya Abhai Raja Siammanukulkij Foundation, the Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. the Princess Mother and the Thai fashion house Voravaj Bangkok. On display, oversized photographs of amputees in fashionable attire along with a synopsis of their life stories and what they did to overcome the difficulties in life. “The exhibition aims to create awareness about the help Prostheses Foundation has been giving amputees for 30 years,” Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, the Chairman of Chao Phya Abhai Raja Siammanukulkij Foundation said. “The exhibition wants to send a message to all of those who face similar difficulties, that whatever the circumstances may be, dreams can always be achieved.” Princess Lea of Belgium, during Her stay. will attend various events celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Chao Phya Abhai Raja Siammanukulkij Foundation, no profit organization.
Bangkok, 24 January 2023 – Education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
By kind invitation of Dato Steve Cheah, Commander of the Royal Order of Francis I, the Vice Delegate joined the Fifth International Day of Education, celebrated under the theme “to invest in people, prioritize education”, attended by several Ambassadors (Bangladesh, Bahrein, Malaysia, Kenya, Kosovo…) and UN representatives.
Pattaya, 28 January 2023 – The Vice Delegate attended the “H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Cup”, Thai Polo event aimed at fundraising for Chitrlada Technology Institute.
Bangkok, 26 January 2023 – The Vice Delegate attended the “Lion Dinner”, an event about Thainess, gastronomy, art, culture and friendship between nations, presided by Princess Lea of Belgium and Prince Chalermsuk Yugala, organized by the Chao Phya Abhai Raja Simmanukulkij Foundation, as a part of a series of events aimed at celebrating its 15 years of successful activities. Amongst the Guests, Ambassadors of countries such as Israel, Singapore and Representatives of various Thai Ministeries. The Foundation has organized many activities and events over the years, such as books publishing, the inauguration of statues, the organization of many charity campaigns and important commemorative events, musical and artistic projects; it has built a complete football stadium to allow the community to play sports and get away from drugs, and has hosted members of the Royal families of Thailand, Belgium, and other countries, in important gala dinners.
The Chao Phya Abhai Raja Foundation does not rely on outside donations to bring its projects to success. All projects are, for the most important part, funded by private donations of the Chairman and the board members.