On 9th December 2011, I began my new, and I expect challenging and rewarding, role as President of Mahidol University. As a result, I am now delighted to oversee the final preparations for the APAIE 2012 Conference and Exhibition. Internationalization of higher education has always been important to Mahidol University, and it will remain so under my administration. I therefore look forward to welcoming representatives of institutions from across the region and beyond to attend this important conference hosted by Mahidol University in April 2012.
Mahidol University originates from the founding of Thailandâ€™s first hospital and medical school at Siriraj Hospital in 1888. Since then we have expanded considerably, becoming the University of Medical Sciences in 1942. As we grew we also diversified, and in 1969 we were renamed with great honor by H.M. King Bhumibol, after his own father H.R.H Prince Mahidol of Songkla. Today we are a comprehensive university consistently ranked one of the top universities in Southeast Asia.
Despite subsequent changes to Mahidol University, we remain guided by the philosophy of our royal namesake that â€œtrue success is not in the learning, but in its application to the benefit of mankindâ€. We firmly believe that a university must not only strive for academic excellence, but, in this complex and interconnected world, also must make meaningful contributions to society.
Under the theme â€œUniversity Social Responsibility for the Benefit of Mankind,” APAIE 2012 aims to bring together education professionals and leaders in order to share their experiences and insights. Delegates will join a global dialogue into how our knowledge, expertise and human capital can address the numerous challenges facing our world. I believe this theme to be extremely timely, particularly as we recovered from the severe flooding that affected Thailand and other countries in the region at the end of 2011. Many Thai universities, Mahidol University included, took a leading role in the flood-relief operations and were often one of the few sources of medical and technical support for local communities.
Of course APAIE 2012 will also provide a great networking opportunity, and, as it is held in one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in the region, APAIE 2012 will also offer a wide range of field trips and cultural experiences. Once again, I look forward to welcoming you all to Thailand and the APAIE 2012 Conference and Exhibition. I am confident that your time here will be worthwhile, informative and inspiring.
Professor Rajata Rajatanavin
President, Mahidol University