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|Biography of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn|
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn was born on 2nd April 1955, the third child of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand.
Education and Training
HRH 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 enrolled in the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, first class honor, 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 Development Education in 1987.
The principle of using education as a means for community and social development which HRH has acquired during her doctoral studies, together with her former experiences in the field, has served as a solid base for her subsequent involvement in community development activities.
In addition to her formal degree programs, HRH 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 has acquired first-hand experiences in working for Their Majesties the King and Queens development projects in such fields as 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 (in 1970). From these experiences, she has developed special interests in agricultural extension to improve school children nutritional conditions; supporting 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 skill.
HRH runs several philanthropic organizations and foundations. She is 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 began her teaching career in 1979 when she started teaching 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 of the Academy. She occasionally gives special lectures at several other institutions. She regularly attends academic conferences and seminars both in and outside the country.
In addition, HRH 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 was awarded the Magsaysay Award for Public Service.
Hobbies and recreations
HRH likes to travel in the country and abroad to obtain knowledge of physical geography and peoples ways of living. One of her favorite pasttimes is writing articles, poetry and short stories. Proceeds from her written accounts of her overseas travels are the main source of income of the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Foundation which was set up in 1979 to support needy students in schools, vocational colleges and universities. In 1997 the number of students receiving grants from the Foundation is approximately 1,500.
HRH loves Thai literature and studies literature of other countries. She enjoys playing classical Thai instruments and practising Thai classical dancing. She sometimes paints. She is also keen on sports : 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 is communicative in both English and French and has been learning Chinese, German and Latin.
HRH is widely and internationally recognised for Her dedication for the welfare of the deprived people in Thailand’s rural areas. She was presented with the awards from different associations. The lists of the awards are as follows:
1991 – The Magsaysay Award for Public Service
1993 – The 1st ASEAN Achievement Awards
1992 for Public Service from the ASEAN Institute
1994 – The GAIA International Award for Environmental Culture 1993 from the Rassegna Internazionale di Cultura Contemporanea di Palermo
1998 – The Hadrian Award from the World Monuments Fund (WMF) as an outstanding leader in the preservation of cultural heritage in Asia
1999 – The Arcangelo Cultural Prize from the Italian Cultural Association in recognition of Her continuous support to the mutual understanding between Italy and Thailand
2000 – The Chinese Language and Culture Friendship Award from the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China
2001 – The International Literary Prize for Understanding and Friendship from the China Literary Foundation and Chinese Writers’ Association
2003 – The Universal Peace Award from the World Association of Non-Government Organization
2003 – HRH accepted to be the UN World Food Programme’s Goodwill Ambassador for the School Feeding Programme.
2004 – HRH accepted to be the People’s Friendship Ambassador of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries for Her wholehearted support to the friendly relation between China and Thailand.
2005 – HRH accepted to be the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Empowerment of Minority Children through Education and Preservation of Their Intangible Cultural Heritage.
2005 – The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Development and Disarmament for 2004 from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust
2006 – The International Presidential Honor Medal for Centenary of Pablo Neruda from the Government of the Republic of Chile for Her outstanding contributions to promote literary works, language, cultural, and art.