Saturday, October 25, 2014

The 2nd Thai Studies Conference in Melbourne: a Prologue

The 2nd Thai Studies conference in Melbourne (Thai Australian Business Studies Conference) was an interesting event from academic and cultural views. As a convenor of the conference, I worked with the members of the conference committee to organise various aspects of the conference. With a short timeframe for the call for papers (including revision, acceptance and rejection), we managed to include papers from business and management in Thailand, trade and ties between Thailand and Australia, borderlands and refugees in Thailand, and modern management trends in Thailand and ASEAN.


                              Professor Gill Palmer, Vice Chancellor of RMIT University

                                          Delegates from the University of Melbourne

On Thursday 23rd October, we had an informal network event at RMIT where my team from RMIT and Professor Sandra Jones from RMIT's Centre for Business Education Research welcomed delegates from Burapha University, Monash and the University of Melbourne. A bit of campus tour and conversations on Thailand and Australia was an interesting way to start our conference. Then, we proceeded to the welcome conference dinner at Le Bangkok Thai restaurant we we also invited our friends from TIWA, a local Melbourne-based NGO for Thai women.

                                                  Prof. Sandra Jones from RMIT

We started the second day of the conference with welcoming messages from Professor Gill Palmer, Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT University. We also invited Dr. Simon Wallace, the Honorary Consul for General, to be our speaker and shared his views on the relationship between Australia and Thailand to the participants. We concluded the morning session with ideas on modern research on ASEAN and skill development by Professor Pauline Stanton, head of school of management at RMIT and Professor Sandra Jones from the Centre for Business Education Research.

                                           Dr. Simon Wallace, Our Keynote Speaker

All presentations in the morning focus on skills and education in Thailand. Trends from these studies show some significant messages on modern Thai education and training They include (a) approaches in teaching and learning (i.e. language, business skills) in Thai educational system should shift to 'more' regional contexts (than national context), and (b) soft skills such as language training can be useful to promote understanding among ASEAN and Australia.




Papers from the morning session help us to understand the future directions of skill and capacity development in the Thai educational and business sectors. In fact, points on soft skills (in communication, cross-cultural management and diversity management in ASEAN) were creatively discussed at this session.

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