Johns Hopkins Gazette: May 22, 1995

Queen Sirikit To Be Honored With Degree

Thailand's beloved monarch noted for devotion to people

By Ken Keatley / 
Office of News and Information

     Thursday morning's commencement ceremony will be broadcast
live--to, of all places, Thailand. 

     A Bangkok television production crew will be covering the
appearance of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, a beloved
monarch in her homeland and one of the world's leading
humanitarians. It is her lifelong devotion to her subjects in the
rural farming communities of Thailand that has prompted Johns
Hopkins to award Queen Sirikit an honorary degree of doctor of
humane letters.

     "Queen Sirikit's work on behalf of the Thai people has
enriched their country and their culture," said Paul Wolfowitz,
dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International
Studies. "SAIS is delighted that Johns Hopkins is honoring Queen
Sirikit, who has done so much for the Thai people."

     Since her marriage to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in
1950, Queen Sirikit has worked tirelessly with her husband in a
variety of humanitarian and environmental causes that have saved
and improved the lives of impoverished Thai citizens. 

     As president of the Thai Red Cross Society and honorary
president of the Council of Social Welfare of Thailand, Queen
Sirikit has established and shepherded programs and relief
efforts that have sheltered the homeless, fed the hungry and
nurtured the ill. Among the benefactors of her work were
thousands of Cambodian refugees who fled into Thailand during
conflicts in the 1970s.

     "The conferring of an honorary degree by such a
world-renowned institution of higher learning as Johns Hopkins
represents a vivid recognition of Her Majesty's monumental and
lasting accomplishments," said H.E. Manaspas Xuto, Thailand's
ambassador to the United States. "The award is a fitting
reflection of her selfless dedication to the betterment of fellow
human beings."

     One of Queen Sirikit's most acclaimed projects is the
SUPPORT Foundation's promoting indigenous cottage industries that
have allowed impoverished farmers to earn supplemental income.
But just as important, the foundation has helped revive
traditional forms of artistic expression, preserving a
near-extinct aspect of Thai culture.

     Indeed, while in Baltimore, Queen Sirikit will inaugurate an
exhibition of Thai culture at the Walters Art Gallery. The
exhibition, titled "Unearthly Elegance: Buddhist Art from the
Griswold Collection," is the most comprehensive assortment of
Thai art outside Thailand.

     She has also been lauded for her work in conserving the
environment. Queen Sirikit has worked to emphasize the importance
of preserving Thai forests, but in tandem with projects that will
offer other sources of income for villagers who depend on cutting
trees for their livelihood. 

     She has been honored by the World Wildlife Fund and the
United National Environment Program for her achievements in
wildlife and environmental conservation.

     Earlier in the week, Queen Sirikit will attend a reception
at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.,
where Thai handicrafts and traditional products of the SUPPORT
Foundation will be on display.

     She has also received the 1995 Lindbergh Award from the
Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation. 

     The first female recipient of the award, Queen Sirikit was
honored May 16 in New York for, according to the award citation,
"her educational and humanitarian efforts, her conservation and
programs which are maintaining the Thai heritage and culture."

     Receiving honorary degrees along with Queen Sirikit are
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski; "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel;
Chung Ju Yung, founder of Hyundai Business Group; and Lucile P.
Leone, former assistant surgeon general and the first chief nurse
of the U.S. Public Health Service.

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