In May 2010, Bangkok erupted in flames.  Some 91 Thai were killed, over 2,000 were  injured and 400 were arrested in a military crackdown resulting in  emergency rule after a nine week siege by the Red Shirts, a populist political movement consisting largely of farmers and factory workers from the country’s rural areas. They supported the ousted and exiled prime minister and former telecommunications magnate Thaksin Shinawatra. Although the opposition Yellow Shirts representing the Bangkok establishment and the Thai military regained control the government, large anti-government protests erupted in September, suggesting potential trouble ahead, especially since the country’s revered 82 year old King has been in the hospital for over a year.  Despite the turmoil and uncertainty, the country’s GDP rose 7.2{fe681502a50b39155a3ca75d1ea8a550fe0ee8275f6f89ef466f508ac0f80879} last year.

How is this possible and what comes next? Where is Thailand headed in the democratic scheme of things? How will the King’s looming demise affect the country’s politics and economy? What role will a less charismatic royal family play in Thailand’s political future?  Is Shinawatra’s political life over – or will he eventually return in triumph?  What are American long term interests in Thailand and how are they affected by the the past year’s political instability?  With major changes occurring in Burma, Viet Nam and Indonesia, what role does Thailand play in Southeast Asia? How safe is it to visit the “Land of Smiles” or even to transit through Bangkok’s airport?

The Speakers

Anne DerseU.S. Ambassador to Lithuania 2009 – 2012 and to Azerbaijan 2006 – 2009
Anne Derse served over thirty years as a career US Foreign Service Officer in Europe, the Former Soviet Union and East Asia with a specialty in international economics. Since retiring from the State Department in 2012, she has supported Exchanges for Culture, Education and Leadership (ExCEL) High School Exchange Program which she established in Lithuania. She is a member of the board of directors of the American Councils for International Education (ACIE) and the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD). She travels frequently to Lithuania.


St. John’s College, Junior Commons Room. On Monday, June 15, 2015, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm

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RSVP by June 11


The Visitors Parking Lot is on your left as you enter campus. A few handicapped parking spaces are located at the Visitor’s Circle right in front of the fishpond area and below the Peterson Student Center. A few more are located behind the Peterson Center as follows. Just before the Visitor’s Circle, look for the fork in the road where you would normally drive to the left to get to the Visitors’ Parking Circle just below the Peterson Center. Instead, turn right and follow the drive up to the other parking area. There are two or three handicapped parking spaces on the left. Please note that this parking lot is not open to the public, but handicapped folks are allowed to park in the designated spaces.