Opening Address by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn At the 5th Princess Maha Chakri Award Ceremony On October 17, 2023

        Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

It gives me great pleasure to preside over the 5th Princess Maha Chakri Award Ceremony. It has been 10 years since this award was set up in 2015 to recognize the best teachers in ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste. I am delighted to know that there are now 55 recipients.

I would like to congratulate the 11 outstanding teachers from ASEAN and Timor-Leste who received the Princess Maha Chakri Award this year. Your contribution and dedication in helping the students have been noticed and appreciated. Receiving this award is the beginning of your new journey as the role model of teachers who have made impact on students’ lives.

I am also pleased to learn that the Princess Maha Chakri Award recipients from the previous years have extended their work within their own country and to other countries to help more students and teachers. With that, the award has served its purpose, that is, to promote excellent teaching practices to benefit teachers and students in Southeast Asia.

Starting next year, the award will expand to three more countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Mongolia. I have done some project in the schools in these countries, and I am happy that the PMCA Network will include the countries beyond Southeast Asia.

I would like to welcome the new three countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Mongolia, whose respective ambassadors and high officials are also joining the event today.

As we all know, teachers do not only teach, but they also oversee other development of students, to promote them to their fullest potentials.  For example, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers all over the world have worked hard to compensate for students’ learning and developmental opportunity loss due to COVID-19 to help them learn and develop with as little interruption as possible.

Also, in the world of rapid change, teachers are constantly faced with new challenges. For example, the fast-growing digital technology, like AI, cyber security, big data, etc., challenges teachers how to appropriately and effectively use them in education.  It seems that teachers need to stay relevant and updated through professional learning community of good practices to catch up and keep up with new development and to broaden view continuously.

In the years to come, I believe that the award recipients will continue your mission as the “change agent” to help develop more teachers and students in your own country and also in our network.  Let us join hands.

I would like to share with you a poem written by a police border patrol officer who is a teacher for children in a Police Border Patrol school in the remote area of Thailand. It reflects very well the role of teachers that I mentioned. I have translated the poem as follows:

“I am merely a fighter who braves the jungle to meet you.

I have no high education degree.

I have only forceful faith from within my soul

That I will light a candle in order to brighten the wilderness.

Regardless of looks and languages,

In spite of all the travails, I’ll endure every hardship with a teacher’s heart”.

The end of this poem, “I’ll endure every hardship with a great teacher’s heart” is for every teacher here.

Lastly, I would like to thank the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Royal Thai Embassy of ASEAN countries and Timor-Leste for their support of the Foundation’s activities. My appreciation also goes to the committee members and the volunteers of the Princess Maha Chakri Award Foundation, chaired by Dr. Krissanapong Kirtikara. They are the “wind beneath the wings” of many teachers in the Princess Maha Chakri Award network.

Thank you very much.