Two PSU scholars have been named “Outstanding Person of the Year 2014”

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously gave an audience on July 7th, 2015 at Dusidalai Hall, Chitralada Villa Royal Residence, Bangkok, for the occasion to present awards to Mr. Wissanu Krea-ngam, the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Identity of the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister Office, and representatives of the National Excellence Project, for their useful contribution to the Thai society and nation in 2014. Afterwards, the government and the Prime Minister Office have organized a congratulatory party with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Wissanu Krea-ngam as the as Guest of Honor, at Santi Maitree Building, Government House.

The goal of the National Excellence Project was to recruit the nation’s outstanding individuals, organizations and projects, and it was conducted by a committee of the National Identity of the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister Office. Besides benefitting the nation, the chosen candidates fulfilled several other criteria, such as continuous operation for a period of five years or more, outstanding portfolios, evidence of good morals and ethics.

In 2014, ten individuals and organizations were selected in five fields. Among them, two Prince of Songkla University (PSU) scholars have been named outstanding people of the year: Prof. Dr. Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong in the field of Social Development, and Professor Dr. Saowapa Angsupanich in the field of Science and Technology.

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Prof. Dr. Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong serves as Director of the Institute of Research and Development for Health of Southern Thailand, Faculty of Medicine, PSU, and as the President of the Southern Border Relief and Reconciliation Foundation. Dr. Virasakdi is an epidemiologist knowledgeable in the field of research and development, creating internationally recognized academic progress of the country, along with social benefits by working on solutions to the continuous issues in South. He plays a key role in international epidemiology since 1992, having organized Master's- and PhD-level researcher training from 17 countries. Dr. Virasakdi is also known for the creation of Epicalc, an open-source statistical development package used worldwide.

Regarding the problem of violence in the southern border provinces, Dr. Virasakdi has used his academic recognition for garnering cooperation from across cultures in order to assist those affected by the violence, to improve their mental health and ease their reintegration into society. Additionally, plans towards reconciliation, peace and development are about to be implemented on the regional, national and international level.

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Professor Dr. Saowapa Angsupanich from the Faculty of Natural Resources is an expert on coastal ecosystems, and has done extensive research in this field for 30 years. She is the first researcher Thailand who initiated extensive ecological and taxonomical studies on the underwater group Tanaidacea (order Tanaidacea in phylum Arthropoda). Dr. Saowapa is also a recognized expert on the Songkhla Lake ecosystem. The majority of her research has been published in international journals, creating worldwide awareness of Thailand’s natural resources and marine environment, along with recognition of Thailand’s scientific prowess in the international academic community.

In addition, Dr. Saowapa wrote three books, compiling the knowledge gained from her extensive research on underwater ecosystems, providing the public with previously overlooked information on a subject that has been dominated by seafood delicacies. These books allow future generations to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the natural history of the Songkhla Lake, thus making informed decisions about large water resources development, resulting in responsible management of this precious national resource.

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