By Ann Daly.
On Tuesday, January 6, at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, His Excellency Dr. Virachai Plasai, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Netherlands was awarded a Certificate of Merit by Diplomat Magazine. His Excellency has served as the Ambassador to the Netherlands since presenting Letters of Credentials to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in August, 2009 and to the Director General of the OPCW a month later in September, 2009.
Prior to being appointed as Ambassador, Dr. Plasai was the Director-General, Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs from September 2007 to May 2009. He also served as Director-General of Department of International Economic Affairs during 2006-2007. This year marks the 28th anniversary of his distinguished career in Thai Diplomatic Service, which began in the Department of Political Affairs in 1987.
His other overseas posts were as First Secretary at the Royal Thai Embassy in London and as Minister Counselor for legal affairs at the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. While serving as the Thai Ambassador to The Hague, he also acted as the agent of the Kingdom of Thailand in the case concerning the interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the case concerning the “Temple of Preah Vihear” (Cambodia v. Thailand) before the International Court of Justice.
During his tenure in The Hague, Ambassador Plasai has successfully brought investors and friends of Thailand in the Netherlands together as never before, through various kinds of activities, which resulted in increased awareness among the Dutch people and business community of investment opportunities and attractive business climate in Thailand as well as Thailand’s charms as tourist destination.
Thailand offers tourists diverse cultural experiences from outstanding culinary programs to traditional folkloric dance and music. The country’s friendly hospitality continues to attract some 200,000 Dutch visitors per year. With respect to tourism, while recognizing the importance of statistics, Ambassador Plasai also attaches high importance to sustainable development and responsible tourism, including protection of the rights of both humans and animals.
Ambassador Plasai’s dedication to the promotion of Thai culture among the local communities has also won him trust and genuine support from various groups of Thai people residing in the Netherlands who have generously supported his efforts. Among those memorable events organized by Ambassador Plasai were the “Thailand Grand Festival”, an annual event held in summer, featuring various Thai cultural experiences through the food as well as traditional and contemporary performances.
The international community in The Hague remembers fondly “The Khon”, magnificent Thai classical masked dance drama based on the universally known epic “Ramayana”. The Khon presentation organized by the Royal Thai Embassy, with support from the Department of Fine Arts, Ministry of Culture of Thailand, was a unique opportunity to see performances by The Royal Thai Dance Troupe in the Netherlands. The Royal Thai Dance Troupe is recognized as Thailand’s top performing arts group, which until only very recently, performed solely in the royal court or staged for the public by royal command.
In his brief speech after being awarded the Certificate of Merit, Ambassador Plasai recalled that his most memorable personal experience as the Thai Ambassador to the Netherlands occurred at the time of the Royal Succession Celebration (Troonswisseling) from the then Her Majesty Queen Beatrix to the then His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander, when he had a very rare opportunity to serve both His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand who visited the Kingdom of the Netherlands to attend the ceremony, at the same time, in addition to an opportunity to witness the historical passing of the throne.
Although Ambassador Plasai will be leaving the Netherlands soon, his calm, generous and creative personality will certainly be missed.
Diplomat Magazine and all the staff have very much enjoyed working closely with Ambassador Plasai. On behalf of the team of Diplomat Magazine, we would like to extend to him our best wishes for a successful and bright future as well as good health.
Certificate of Merit – Ceremony of Merit- Farewell ceremony