Not only is Thailand the oldest treaty ally of the United States in Asia, Bangkok is the first city that Washington, D.C. established a sister city relationship with back in February, 1962. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Governor of Bangkok Sukhumbhand Paribatra commemorated the 50th anniversary with a signing ceremony on Friday, May 18. State Department Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis speaking at the event explained “It is indeed fitting that our capital cities, Washington, D.C. and Bangkok are reaffirming their partnership to link city governments, business and cultural communities and citizens.” Regarding the business angle Mayor Gray added that “There’s fertile territory here for us to develop a business relationship.”
On Saturday, Governor Paribatra, an alumnus of Georgetown University, and Thailand’s Ambassador to the United States, Chaiyong Satipanon, both attended a public celebration at the Woodrow Wilson Plaza with performances by Thailand’s renowned Joe Louis Puppet Theater Company and the Boy Thai Band. Last week Governor Paribatra also visited the University of the District of Columbia which last year partnered with the government of Bangkok to send UDC students to Bangkok on an educational cultural program.