Thai Update 2021: Crisis management and long-term implications


Tuesday, 24 August, 2021 – 14:00 to Friday, 27 August, 2021 – 16:00


Online (virtual)

Thailand has suffered major political unrest as it also grapples with the COVID-19 crisis. These issues and their effect on the economy, and domestic and foreign policy will be in sharp focus at the Thai Update 2021 at The Australian National University (ANU).

Hosted by the ANU Southeast Asia Institute in cooperation with the Asia Foundation and ANU SEARBO Project, the ANU Thai Update 2021 will be held from 24-27 August and will share important insights from leading experts on economics, parliamentary politics, social movements and foreign policy analysis.

Can the signs of rapidly growing unemployment and desperation that are fully visible in Bangkok and surrounding regions be addressed?

How will the economic crisis play out and what are the prospects for the millions of newly poor in Thailand?

From ‘being Thai’ to ‘being human’: Thailand’s protests and redefining the nation

The People’s Party 2020 is redefining the nation by withdrawing the condition of "Thainess".

How will Thailand handle the coup and COVID-19 crisis in its nearest neighbour Myanmar, and how will its foreign policy affect its relationships with allies in the US and the Asia-Pacific region?

These questions will drive discussions and debate by panels of experts from universities and institutions in Thailand and Australia.

The full program is below. This event will be held over Zoom. Register here for any or all of the below panels.


Economy and Covid-19 Impact

Tuesday 24 August, 2-4pm (AEST); 11am-1pm (ICT)
  • Professor Pavida Pananond – Professor of International Business, Thammasat Business School, Thammasat University, Bangkok
  • Somchai Jitsuchon – Research Director, Inclusive Development, TDRI
  • Professor Pasuk Phongpaichit – Professor of Economics, Chulalongkorn University and an influential author on Thailand

Moderator: Thomas Parks – Country Representative, Thailand; The Asia Foundation


Wednesday 25 August, 2-4pm (AEST); 11am-1pm (ICT)
  • Dr Prajak Kongkirati – Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Academic Service, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University
  • Dr Saowanee T. Alexander – Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Ubon Ratchathani University
  • Dr Kanokrat Lertchoosakul – Assistant Professor of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University
  • Dr Aim Sinpeng – Senior Lecturer, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

Moderator: Dr Ruji Auethavornpipat- Research Fellow, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU.


Thursday 26 August, 2-4pm (AEST); 11am-1pm (ICT)
  • Dr Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang – Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University
  • Dr Anyarat Chattharakul – NIAS-affiliated researcher with a PhD from the University of Leeds, specialising in Thailand’s electoral politics
  • Tidarat Yingcharoen (Tida) – Thai-Myanmar politician in Thailand; Director, Policy Center, Thai Sang Thai Party.
  • Parit “Itim” Wacharasindhu – Political leader, former member of Democrat Party

Moderator: Dr Greg Raymond – Lecturer, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU

Foreign Policy

Friday 27 August, 2-4pm (AEST); 11am-1pm (ICT)

  • Benjamin Zawacki – Senior Program Specialist, Asia Foundation, a political and legal analyst, and author of Thailand: Shifting Ground Between the US and a Rising China (Bloomsbury Publishing, second edition October 2021)
  • Kasira Cheeppensook (MPhil Cantab, PhD) Assistant Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Department of International Relations, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
  • Assistant Professor Pongphisoot (Paul) Busbarat – Assistant Professor in International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.
  • Dr Jittipat Poonkham – (PhD Aberystwyth University; MPhil Oxford University) – Director of International Studies Program and Associate Professor of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University
Moderator: Professor Bill Tow – Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU

These webinars will be recorded.

More on Thailand

Thailand’s COVID-19 prisons outbreak: time for an early release?

Large COVID outbreaks in prisons are only a part of a bigger problem in terms of the state overlooking the welfare of prisoners.

“Thank you for seeing our worth”: amid a pandemic, Redshirts joined Thailand’s youth-led protests

Resistance in Ubon Ratchathani has historically endured repression and recently pandemic

Stopping anti-union discrimination in Thailand

Anti-union discrimination supported by the state, fragmentation of Thai enterprises, and a paternalistic regime all contribute to low levels of unionisation.