Experience the Uniqueness of Utah
Each year foreign ambassadors and their spouses are invited by Brigham Young University (BYU) to participate in the Utah Ambassador Visits Program. During the three-day visit, visiting dignitaries will get a hands-on experience on Utah through meetings with high-level representatives from the State of Utah as well as representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), private sectors, Brigham Young University and its student body.
Ambassador Pisan Manawapat and his spouse, Mrs. Wanchana, had the privilege to visit the Beehive State during the first week of February, under the generous hospitality of BYU and a great care of Dr. Erlend Peterson, the Associate International Vice President of BYU.
The visit kicked off with a call on Governor Gary Herbert and a discussion about the Governor’s success in leading the State of Utah to become the “premiere global destination” for trade and investment. Utah has also been ranked “#1 Pro Business State” in 2014. Ambassador Pisan commended the Governor’s success and emphasized Thailand’s role as the ASEAN Community’s trade and investment hub, which can serve as a production base and a gateway for products from Utah to the region. Moreover, the State’s leading industries—information technology, aerospace, energy, and bio lifestyle—are also ones that the Thai Government will promote as its “future industry”. With these shared visions in mind, Ambassador Pisan invited Governor Herbert to lead the Utah’s business delegation to Thailand to explore ways to establish contact with Thai private sectors and agencies concerned.
Ambassador Pisan and Mrs. Wanchana also had the honor to call on Elder Ronald Rasband, Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of LDS. Elder Rasband expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s long-standing friendship and great support extended to the Church’s mission in Thailand throughout decades. At present, there are approximately 220 missionaries in Thailand and, in the near future, the Church will construct its first Temple in Thailand, which will be the only Temple in Mainland Southeast Asia.
At Brigham Young University, Ambassador Pisan and Mrs. Wanchana were warmly welcomed by Mr. Kevin Worthen, BYU President, and the university’s faculties. Ambassador Pisan addressed over 80 students and faculties on the lecture entitled “Thailand: Essential Gateway to the ASEAN Community.” The Ambassador was extremely impressed with BYU students, who have deep understanding about Thailand and address questions and comments in a respectful manner. Over 75% of the participants can speak Thai as they learned from their time as missionaries in Thailand.
Besides addressing the academic community, Ambassador Pisan also had the opportunity to speak at the World Trade Center of Utah. During the luncheon hosted by Mr. Derek Miller, the President and CEO of the World Trade Center, the Ambassador gave an overview of the Thai economy, which is the second largest in ASEAN, and discussed Thailand’s role as a regional hub for trade and investment. Ms. Tanita Sirisup, Director of Thailand Board of Investment’s Los Angeles Office, also gave an overview of the investment opportunities in Thailand to over 40 representatives from Utah’s private companies. (Click here for more information)
The last stop of the trip is a visit to Wat Chaimongkolvararam, a Thai temple in Ogden. Dr. Scott Hansen, Thailand’s Honorary Consul in Salt Lake City, kindly organized this visit for Ambassador Pisan and his wife to pay the respect to the Abbot and meet with the Thai community in Utah. The Ambassador is pleased to learn that the Thai temple is operated on His Majesty King Bhumibol’s “Sufficiency Economy” philosophy and has continuously received a great support from local government in Ogden for its construction from the very beginning in 2008. Today, the temple has gradually become not only a part of the Thai community in Utah, but also a part of its local community.
Ambassador Pisan and Mrs. Wanchana returned to Washington with greater understanding of Utah and profound appreciation for gracious hospitality extended to them from BYU, the State of Utah and its people.