We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of the highly respected and honorable Chairman of our Board of Directors, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. Dr. Surin died on November 30, 2017 in Bangkok at the age of 68.
Born and raised in Thailand’s southern province of Nakorn Sri Thammarat, he was awarded a scholarship and was a high school exchange student in Minnesota, USA, in 1967-1968. Shortly after returning Thailand, he won another scholarship from Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna College) Claremont, California, to complete his B.A. in political science (cum laude) in 1972. He continued his studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in 1974 and 1982, respectively, in the fields of political science and Middle Eastern Studies. He also spent a year and a half from 1975-77 studying Arabic and conducting research at the American University in Cairo, while concurrently serving as a fellow at the Higher Council for Islamic Research in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr. Surin Pitsuwan returned to Thailand in 1984, after having worked and lectured in the US. He successfully ran for a Parliament seat in 1986 and was returned to Parliament eight times. He held various positions in the Thai government, including his tenure as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2001. Dr. Surin achieved a reputation as a great statesman for Southeast Asia during his time as the Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from 2008 to 2012.
Dr. Surin received 13 honorary doctoral degrees and served as Professor Emeritus at Thammasat University in Bangkok. Additionally, he served as a visiting professor and fellow at numerous international universities and institutes of higher learning.
Prior to his passing, Dr. Surin worked relentlessly for Southeast Asian integration, educational and political reform and social advancements based on integrity and mutual respect.
Dr. Surin PItsuwan was appointed an independent director of Amata in 2015 and elected Chairman of the Board of Directors the following year.
Amata greatly benefitted from Dr. Surin’s many contributions. He possessed the fine qualities of a true statesman, including an outstanding temperament and intellect, yet remained gentle and humble throughout his life. He believed in the values of education and compassion for lived his conviction to democracy, fairness and freedom for the betterment of society and the lives of all people. We are truly thankful for the contributions of his life’s work, as well as his lifelong passion for the advancement of Thailand and all the people of the world.
We join an uncountable number of people from all walks of life around the globe in mourning the deeply missed Dr. Surin Pitsuwan. The incredible response to his passing from around the world demonstrates the great loss to those who knew him and reflects the significance of his achievements.
We convey our heartfelt condolences to the Dr. Surin’s family and friends, as well as all others who were so fortunate as to be touched by his presence in their lives.
Amata Corporation PCL.