On 23 May 2014, Ambassador Thanatip Upatising hosted a dinner at the Residence to congratulate Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage for winning Culture and Community Prize in the 19th Nikkei Asia Prizes. Mom Rajawongse Disnadda Diskul, the Secretary General, represented the foundation in receiving the prize on 21 May 2014 at Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.
The Nikkei Asia Prizes were established in 1996 to recognize outstanding individuals or organizations’ achievements that contribute to Asia’s sustainable development. The prizes are awarded in three areas: “Economic and Business Innovation”, “Science, Technology and Environment” and “Culture and Community.” Four Thai individuals who previously won the prizes were Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi and Dr. Pinyo Suwankiri (2000), Prof. Dr. Yongyuth Yuthavong, (2004), and Mr. Mechai Viravaidya (2007).
The Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage was established in 1972 following Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra’s initiative to conserve tribal culture and generate villagers’ income. Doi Tung Development Project has changed the lives of about 10,000 villagers who once earned a living on addictive plants by means of economic crops growing, capacity building, and ethnic minority’s local tradition and culture preservation. Today, Doi Tung Development Project has become a successful model of sustainable development, which is now applied across Thailand and in Myanmar, Indonesia and Afghanistan.