On July 5, 2018, the United States and Thailand renewed their bilateral Scientific and Technical Agreement (STA) for another five years at the US Department of State. The first iteration of the STA was signed in 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand to facilitate the exchange of best practices in natural resources management, health, biodiversity, and museum outreach.
Numerous US universities have also gotten in on the act. Earlier in April 2018, University of Pennsylvania welcomed Professor Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand to discuss new avenues of cooperation between U Penn and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy. HRH Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol has a doctorate in chemistry, and since opening the Academy in 2016 has worked to expand opportunities for Thai citizens to pursue the sciences including through studying abroad at US universities. U Penn students have also benefitted greatly from their time in Thailand. The School of Nursing has sent students to learn from their Thai counterparts and share methods of combatting major health disorders for 20 years. There is hope that in the near future U Penn and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to take this partnership even further.
Ten students from the University of Arkansas and several other US colleges took advantage of an opportunity offered by grants from the National Science Foundation in late August 2018 to work with students from Thailand’s Mahasarakham University and Chiang Mai University on a variety of scientific issues. Topics ranged from the properties of medicinal mushrooms to the physiology of small mammals native to Thailand.
Later in that same week a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor Angel Yanagihara began her posting as a US State Department Fulbright Specialist to study the deadly box jellyfish. She was sought out specifically by Thailand’s Mahidol University, which is considered one of the preeminent research institutions on venom and translational medicine. Together, they hope to study this native jellyfish and develop better methods of combatting its stings.
Sarah Wang is a Programs Coordinator at the East-West Center in Washington.