Citations and Speeches

Citations

151st Congregation (1996)

Anand PANYARACHUN
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Sciences

The Public Orator Professor Mimi Chan, M.A., M.PHIL., wrote and delivered the following citation:

Most mere mortals find it difficult enough to cope with one career in a lifetime. Our next graduand, Anand Panyarachun, had coped with two full careers - and not just coped, but had achieved resounding success in both when he capped his achievements and assured himself a place in history by twice serving as Prime Minister of Thailand. Anand has time and again proven his sterling qualities of leadership. He is a world-class statesman, a man of international stature who has served his country with distinction in difficult times at home and abroad. In seeking to honour him we are only adding our voice to the general chorus of praise for Anand's achievements. For over three decades Anand has been receiving honours: he has foreign decorations from Italy, the Republic of Korea, from Indonesia, Belgium and Japan, as well as a good number of Thai decorations; for example, in 1991 he was made Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant. He has been awarded honorary degrees from no fewer than sixteen institutions, Thai and foreign, including Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, the University of Victoria and Queen's University, Canada. In 1993 alone he received four honorary doctorates. Indeed, among leaders in Thailand few command as much respect as Anand Panyarachun.

The story of Anand's phenomenal rise to national and international pre-eminence starts in 1932 when he was born in Bangkok. He left for London and Dulwich College at the age of 16, which, in his own words is "a relatively "old age". He presumes therefore what values he has now could be mainly attributed to what he learnt from his parents or from his schools in Thailand. He also absorbed a few additional values or concepts from what he saw in England. He graduated with an honours degree in law from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1955. His first career spanned twenty-three years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand, which he joined the year of his graduation. During these twenty-three years he was Ambassador to Canada and to the United Nations (1967-1972), Ambassador to The United States of America and concurrently the Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations (1972-1975), Permanent Secretary of the Ministry (1976-1977). And finally Ambassador to The Federal Republic of Germany.

He retired from the Civil Service and embarked on his second career as a businessman, joining in 1979 as Vice-Chairman the Saha-Union Group of Companies, one of Thailand's largest manufacturing and marketing enterprises, a manufacturing licensee of such well-known brand names as Grandslam, Nike, Van Heusen among many others. In the following thirteen years he was Chairman and Director of a number of companies within the group, and in January 1991 he was elected Chairman of the company. In addition to his work for Saha-Union he served — and is still serving — as Chairman or Director of a great number of other companies, local and international. For example since 1982 he has been director of Sime Darby Berhad Malaysia; between 1982-1994 he was appointed as Director of IBM (Thailand). He served also on a staggeringly large number of key Thai and regional institutions; he was, for example, Chairman of the Asean Task Force on Asean Cooperation (1982-83), Director of the U.S. Asean Center for Technology Exchange (1985-91). Between 1990 and March 1991 he was Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries. Since 1990 he has been Chairman of the Cambridge Thai Foundation.

Before the age of 60, Anand had certainly achieved greatness. He had been a prominent figure nearly half of his life-time. In March 1991 he had yet more greatness thrust upon him. He was asked by the 1991 coup's ruling military junta to assume the prime ministership of Thailand. It was the first time after a coup de tat that a civilian was asked to serve as prime minister. Anand saw this as a gamble worth taking. He resigned all his business positions to respond to the call of duty. As Anand himself put it he was drafted into politics. In a public address he alluded to his appointment as "something which will be recorded as one of the greatest accidents of history".

He served until April 1992, when he returned to his business activities. He was recalled to the post by the King after the bloody Bangkok protests in May. It is a measure of the esteem in which he is held by the Thais and of the confidence they have in his ability, and the success he had achieved in his earlier tenure as Prime Minister that on June 10, 1992 the news that Anand Panyarachun would once again take the job of interim Prime Minister was greeted with celebratory champagne in Bangkok and soaring of prices on the stock exchange. He won the warm regard of Thais and expatriates alike for nurturing the kingdom through the healing, rebuilding process after the two national crises. Bolstered by his faith in the Thai people, he urged them to "each inside our own souls to rediscover and tap this inner strength of ours". He worked hard to restore, not only stability and continuity, but the image of Thailand, giving countless interviews to foreign journalists.

On 1 October he once more returned to his office in the Saha-Union Building, but not only to pursue business activities. He divides his time and energy between chairing the multi-billion-baht Saha-Union Group and acting, one might say, as Thailand's self-appointed roving ambassador. The indefatigable ex-Prime Minister cum statesman cum businessman - the diplomat of business as he likes to consider himself - is on a crusade to promote Thailand abroad and to fight for educational and environmental improvements at home. He addresses business, education and environmental seminars and conferences in Thailand and abroad. In December 1993 he was elected Chairman of the Business Council for Sustainable Development (Geneva) for a two-year term; this provides him an additional rostrum for promulgating his vision of economic activity that effectively manages the Earth's resources for sustained equitable growth worldwide. Witty and charming as well as able he is eminently suited to the role of unofficial envoy for Thailand, the land of smiles. It is, more literally, also the land of the free, and Anand believes in freedom, but freedom with responsibility. Like Thailand itself he believes in following the precept of majhima patipada, the middle path, avoiding extremes.

Events have rendered a virtual cliche U.S. Secretary of State at the turn of the century, John Hay's remark:

"The Mediterranean is the ocean of the past, the Atlantic the ocean of the present, the Pacific the ocean of the future".

Our University seeks to honour Anand as an example of the Asian leadership which will lead us into the Pacific Century. To use Anand's words, leadership is about accepting tough challenges; he believes the qualities needed by leaders today are integrity, objectivity, charisma, vision, the ability to communicate *** and to listen. If this is the case, Anand Panyarachun is the quintessential leader; the observer of all observers.

Mr. Chancellor, for his many outstanding achievements as a statesman and businessman, and especially for his contributions to the Asian economy, I commend to you Mr. Anand Panyarachun for the award of the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa.