Thailand Fund for Nalanda University has been established

From left Joint Secretary (South), Ambassador of Thailand, Secretary East, Chancellor of Nalanda University, and former Foreign Minister of Indonesia.

On 27 August 2016, H.E. Mr. Chalit Manityakul, Ambassador of Thailand to India, attended the laying foundation stone for the construction of the permanent campus and the 1st convocation ceremony of Nalanda University at Rajgir, Bihar. On this occasion, the Thai Ambassador has presented through H.E. Mr. George Yeo, Chancellor of the University, donation from the Thai private sector of approximately USD 27,000 to Nalanda University for establishing the Thailand Fund for Nalanda University. Combined with the earlier Thai private sector’s contribution of USD 5,000 in 2012, the fund is expected to be allocated to be scholarships for the Thai students pursuing MA Programme in the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions of Nalanda University in the next academic year. This activity ispart of the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Thailand and India Diplomatic Relations in 2017.

About 500 people attended the convocation ceremony including H.E. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India, H.E. Mr. Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, H.E. Mr. Ramnath Kovind, the Governor of Bihar, H.E. Mr. George Yeo, the former Foreign Minister of Singapore and current Chancellor of Nalanda University, H.E. Mr. Hassan Wirajuda, former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Prof. Amartya Sen, Nobel prize laureate and world renowned economist, H.E. Mrs. Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ambassador of Japan to India and diplomats from ASEAN countries, China, Japan, Nepal etc.

President Pranab Mukherjee laid the foundation stone and presided over the convocation ceremony. He conferred the chancellors gold medal to two students and handed over Post graduate degrees to students of the first batch of the modern-day Nalanda University, the first ever in 800 years.

During the ceremony, Chancellor George Yeo expressed his appreciation to many parties and organisations which support the revival of this historic University, mentioning also the role of Thailand. He expressed his appreciation to the work and unwavering support of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who is a member of the University’s International Advisory Panel, and commended Prof. Propod Assavavirulhakarn, the Thai linguist and Buddhism scholar, for his valuable guidance as a member of the Governing Board of Nalanda University.

Buddhism plays an important role in connecting Thailand with India. Historically, the original Nalanda University was a well-known centre of Buddhist learning, and for many Thai pilgrims today, visiting the old site of Nalanda University is a part of their spiritual journey. Thailand is ready to assist the revival of Nalanda University as the world’s leading educational institution. It has already signed the MOU on the Establishment of Nalanda University with India in 2015 and extended USD 100,000 for the Establishment Project. Thailand stands ready to support the School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions in all areas, especially in the fields of academic development and cooperation, student and faculty exchange programmes as well as disseminating information on the School’s education programmes to attract more Thai students.

Prof. Amartya Sen (middle) and Ambassador of Thailand (right)


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Royal Thai Embassy, New Delhi
2 September 2016

Ambassador Pisan Manawapat presented the Royal Thai Government’s donation of US$ 100,000, as well as a further contribution of US $ 5,000 from the C.P. Group, to Nalanda University’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Gopa Sabharwal at the Indian International Center. Dr. J.N. Mishra, Joint Secretary (Nalanda), Ministry of External Affairs and representatives of the Nalanda University, Ministry of External Affairs, and the Royal Thai Embassy were also present during the ceremony.

Ambassador Pisan remarked that it was an honour for him to be delivering on the promise made by the Thai Prime Minister during her State Visit to India as the Chief Guest of Republic Day. India, as the custodian of Buddhist heritage, has a special connection to Thailand. Nalanda University was a center of Buddhist learning and for many Thai Buddhist pilgrims, visiting the old site of Nalanda is a part of their spiritual journey. The revival of Nalanda University as Asia’s leading educational institution deserves the active support of not only East Asia Summit members but also like-minded countries.

As for Thailand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a special account to receive contributions for the Nalanda University Project from the private sector. In addition to the C.P. Group, Thai companies such as PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP), Srithai Superware, Bangkok Bank, and Krungthai Bank have already made contribution amounting over 30,000 US Dollars.

Dr. Gopa Sabharwal expressed her appreciation to the Thailand for participating in a real way toward the revival of Nalanda, which, as the benchmark University of the 21st Century, will become a symbol of Asia’s resurgence.  She commended on the Thai Government’s lead in involving the private sector, which broadens the participation base of donors beyond governments.

For Thai companies that are interested in donating to the Thai Government’s fund for Nalanda University, deposits can be made to:

Account Name: Thailand Fund for Nalanda University
Bank: Krungthai Bank, Samyod Branch
Account Number: 002-6-18813-9
Type: Current Account
Currency: Baht

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue a receipt to the donor. However, since this donation does not fall within the Department of Customs’ regulations on tax deductions, the donation is not tax deductible.

The Style Souk