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PM launches website of NZ Alumni in Thailand

20 April 2005

PM launches website of NZ Alumni in Thailand

Prime Minister Helen Clark today launched a new website to strengthen links with former Thai students in New Zealand.

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The launch of the New Zealand Alumni of Thailand website in Bangkok coincided with the Prime Minister's official visit to Thailand for the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement.

"A New Zealand education provided many Thai students with a platform from which they launched successful careers in government, business and academia. The first Thai students attended New Zealand universities in the days of the Colombo Plan, 40 years ago," Helen Clark said.

"I am advised that Khun Karun Kittisataporn and Dr Chai-anan Samudavanija were among the first to register on the website. Khun Karun is now the Permanent Secretary of Commerce, and attended Victoria University of Wellington from 1967 to 1969. Dr Chai-anan is Headmaster of Thailand's prestigious Vajiravudh College and attended Victoria University from 1967 to 1969.

"Nowadays, more students from Thailand than any other ASEAN country study in New Zealand - 4300 last year, at universities, secondary and primary schools, and in English language institutes.

"Returning alumni, with good qualifications, friends and fond memories from their time in our country, are an important part of New Zealand's constituency in Thailand. The New Zealand Government recognises the value which maintaining links with alumni add to the bilateral relationship."

Helen Clark said New Zealand looked forward to helping support New Zealand Alumni activities, including events to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Thailand and New Zealand in 2006.

"It is appropriate that this new website, to keep alumni in touch with each other and with New Zealand, is being launched at the same time as we sign our Closer Economic Partnership. People-to-people links are what will give that Partnership enduring strength. I encourage all Thai alumni to register on the website," Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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