Happy Birthday Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

The Kingdom of Thailand celebrates the most auspicious occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 69th birthday on April 2. We at Pattaya Mail join in with our most humble wishes for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn for a long, healthy and happy life. (Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was born on April 2, 1955, the third child of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand. HRH the Princess studied from kindergarten to high school at Chitralada School in Bangkok. She ranked first in the National School Examinations in the primary level (grade 7) in 1967 and in upper secondary level (grade 12) in 1972.

Ranked fourth in the National University Entrance Examination, HRH the Princess enrolled in the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, first class honor, and a gold medal in History in 1976.

She continued her studies in two graduate programs concurrently, obtaining an M.A. in Oriental Epigraphy (Sanskrit and Cambodian) from Silpakorn University in 1978, and an M.A. in Pali and Sanskrit from Chulalongkorn University in 1980. She enrolled in a doctoral program at Srinakharinwirot University (former College of Education) in 1981, and was awarded a doctoral degree in Developmental Education in 1987.

The principle of using education as a means for community and social development, which HRH the Princess acquired during her doctoral studies along with her former experiences in the field, has provided her with a solid base for her subsequent involvement in community development activities.

In addition to her formal degree programs, HRH the Princess has attended several training courses and workshops to enhance her knowledge and skills in effective integrated development. These subjects include computer, cartography, meteorology, survey and photogrammetry, remote sensing and geographic information system and nutrition.

HRH the Princess holds honorary degrees in Geography, Chinese Studies of Humane Letters, Agriculture, Botany, Chinese, Pharmacy, Information Technology, Rural Technology, Public Health, Humane Letters, Regional Development Strategies, Environmental Science, Veterinary Medicine, Physics, and Laws.

HRH the Princess has acquired first-hand experiences in working on development projects initiated by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit. These projects involve a number of diversified fields including health and hygiene, education, water resource development, agriculture and cottage industry by regularly accompanying Their Majesties on visits to remote areas since the age of sixteen.

From these experiences, HRH the Princess has developed special interests in agricultural extension to improve school children’s nutritional conditions; supports education from pre-school to tertiary levels; and mother and child care. She has also concentrated on helping the handicapped, especially in using information technology (IT) to develop independent living and learning skills.

HRH the Princess runs several philanthropic organizations and foundations. She has been Executive Vice President of the Thai Red Cross Society since 1977; Executive Chairman of the Chaipattana Foundation (in charge of His Majesty’s development and environmental preservation projects), Ananda Mahidol Foundation (to promote higher education), the King Rama II Foundation (to conserve and promote Thai Culture); President of the Sai Jai Thai Foundation (to support disabled veterans), Prince Mahidol Award Foundation (to award prizes annually to members of the international community for outstanding performances in the fields of medicine and public health); and Adviser of the Committee of Thai Junior Encyclopedia Project by Royal Command of H.M. the King.

HRH the Princess began her teaching career in 1979 when she started teaching the General Education Program at Chulalongkorn University. A year later, she joined the Department of Law and Social Sciences, in the Academic Division of Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. Presently she is Director of the Department of History, and has played an active part in revising its curriculum. She also supervises the Thai Music Club at the Academy. Occasionally HRH the Princess gives special lectures at several other institutions and regularly attends academic conferences and seminars both in and outside the country.

In addition, HRH the Princess represents Their Majesties in various royal functions. She also presides over ceremonies as well as other social and charity functions all through the year. In 1991, HRH the Princess was awarded the Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

HRH the Princess likes to travel around the Kingdom and abroad to obtain knowledge of physical geography and peoples’ varied lifestyles. One of her favorite pastimes is writing articles, poetry and short stories. Proceeds from her written accounts of her overseas travels are the main source of income for the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation which was set up in 1979 to support needy students in schools, vocational colleges and universities.

In March 2005, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn received the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador title for the “Empowerment of Minority Children through Education and through the Preservation of Their Intangible Cultural Heritage” from UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura.

HRH the Princess loves Thai literature and studies literature of other countries. She enjoys playing classical Thai instruments and practicing Thai classical dancing. She also paints and is keen on sports, including jogging, swimming, biking and trekking – which gives her an opportunity to learn about plants, trees and geographical features of the areas.

In addition to her knowledge of Pali, Sanskrit and Cambodian, HRH the Princess is communicative in both English and French and has been learning Chinese, German and Latin.

On March 7, 2010, HRH the Princess was selected by Chinese people to receive the ‘Chinese Connection – Top Ten International Friends of China’ Award. Chinese people on line voted HRH the Princess as one of the ten best international friends of China. The survey was arranged by the state-run CRI. HRH the Princess is the only figure in the Southeast Asian region to receive such an award and is among the few living awardees. She has visited China 28 times since 1981 and she has been playing a vital role in fostering relationships between Thailand and China.

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn pushes the button to officially open the new multi-purpose building at Pattaya Redemptorist Vocational School on February 15, 2007. HRH the Princess then laid the foundation stone for the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Building at the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind, which is under the patronage of Her Royal Highness. (Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn pushes the button to officially open the new multi-purpose building at Pattaya Redemptorist Vocational School on February 15, 2007. HRH the Princess then laid the foundation stone for the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Building at the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind, which is under the patronage of Her Royal Highness. (Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

On June 27, 2010, as part of the opening of the 60th Meeting of Nobel Laureates, the Foundation Lindau Nobel Prizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance admitted three new members into its Honorary Senate, which brings together personalities from science, business and politics and advises the Foundation Board. The Foundation, whose Founders Assembly includes 232 Nobel Laureates, honored Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Dr. Christof Bosch and Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan for their commitment to promoting science and research, as well as dialogue between the scientific community and society.

On July 15, 2010, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was presented with the “Fulbright Caring Leader Across Cultures Award” by Ms. Alina Ramonowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, in honor of Her Royal Highness’ dedication to the peoples of different cultures, serving as an excellent example to the world community at large. The presentation was held during the “International Symposium on Caring Leaders across Cultures” in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Thailand, presided over by Her Royal Highness and co-hosted by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Department of State, and the Thailand-United States Educational Foundation (TUSEF/ Fulbright Thailand), at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.