Mekong Institute warmly welcomed H.E. Mr. Reuben Levermore, newly appointed Ambassador of New Zealand to Thailand, on September 2, 2014. 

Ambassador Reuben Levermore took up his position as the New Zealand Ambassador to Thailand just in September. He paid a visit to Mekong Institute where he met with the new MI Director, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath and some of the institution’s managers and staff. Mr. Ambassador was accompanied by New Zealand delegates, Professor Nigel Hemmington, Pro Vice Chancellor International, Dean of Faculty of Culture and Society and Professor of Tourism, AUT University; Mr. Chris Hawley, Senior Advisor to the Office of International Relations and Development, AUT University; Dr. Linda O’Neill, Deputy Dean of Faculty of Culture and Society and Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism; Mr. Alister Lawrencre, Chairman, New Zealand ASEAN Business Council; and Mr. Lester Khoo, Director, International Relations and Development, AUT University. 

Ambassador Reuben Levermore’s First Visit to Mekong Institute
From L to R: Dr. Buasawan Simmala, Ms. Maria Medialdia, Prof. Nigel Hemmington, Mr. Alister Lawrencre, Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Ambassador Reuben Levermore, Mr. Chris Hawley, Dr. Linda O’Neill, and Mr. Sanjay Gathia 

Dr. Watcharas presented the background of MI and Ms. Maria Medialdia presented MI’s projects supported by the New Zealand government. Then both delegates from MI and New Zealand engaged in discussion on possible collaborations and opportunities to learn more about each other; and most importantly, how each can contribute to the development of the GMS region. Dr. Watcharas stated that MI would be happy to work with visiting scholars from AUT who are interested in conducting research on the GMS region. Both parties also agreed that an internship program would be quite fruitful for both institutions. 

At the end of the discussion, the Ambassador thanked everyone for the warm welcome. He greatly appreciated the practicality of the discussion and the proposed plans. And lastly, he expressed that New Zealand is eager to continue supporting MI and is willing to contribute more. 

Ambassador Levermore at the “Training of Trainer on Good Agricultural and Postharvest Practices in Fresh Produce” 

The Ambassador also briefly engaged in MI’s current program on the “Training of Trainer on Good Agricultural and Postharvest Practices in Fresh Produce” led by the Rural Development Program Department supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP). 

Ambassador Levermore’s visit to MI was part of his visit to Khon Kaen University to partake in its 50th anniversary in line with his mission to develop greater economic and political ties between New Zealand and Thailand.

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