April 11, 2017

Remarks by His Excellency Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi

Remarks by

His Excellency Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada

at the Reception in Honour of Professor Dr. Vladimir Hachinski

Distinguished Professor of the University of Western Ontario

and Prince Mahidol Award Laureate 2016

at the Thai Residence, Ottawa

Monday, 10 April 2017



Deputy House Speaker Bruce Stanton,

Honourable Members of Parliament, Blaine Calkins and Harold Albrecht,

Dr. Theresa Tam, Interim Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, representing

    the Honourable Minister of Health of Canada,

Assistant Deputy Minister Don Bobiash and Dear Colleagues from

    Global Affairs Canada, including Chief of Protocol Roy Norton

    and Director General Ian Burchett,

Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Distinguished Professors from Western, Carleton, Ottawa,

    and McGill Universities,

Honourable Guests from Canadian Research and Health-related Institutions

    as well as the Media,

Dear Friends of Thailand and Leaders of the Thai Community,


          Sawasdee krub, and let me start off by warmly welcoming you to the Thai Residence.  My wife and I are very grateful that you have honoured us by your presence this evening.


        This has indeed been a very important two weeks for Thailand during this first half of April 2017.  April 2nd and April 5th marked the birthday anniversaries of Their Royal Highnesses Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Princess Ubolratana, respectively, both of whom are daughters of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and very much beloved by the Thai people 


        On April 6th, we commemorated Chakri Day in honour of the present Chakri Dynasty of Thailand.  That same day, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun signed into law Thailand’s new Constitution, which will pave the way for general elections to be held sometime next year. 


        And in just a few days,  on April 13th, it will be Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year, which is a time when we Thais get together with our families and pay respect to our elders.


        This Residence has certainly hosted many functions to mark such important Thai occasions.


        But this evening is not really about Thailand, but more about Canada, which is why I am delighted that so many of our distinguished Canadian friends are able to be here with us today.


        We are here to honour Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, Distinguished University Professor of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, and the most recent Prince Mahidol Award Laureate for the year 2016.


        As you have seen from the just-concluded video, this prestigious international award was established in honour of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla, who was not only the father of two great Kings, but also the Father of Modern Medicine and Public Health of Thailand.


        Since the establishment of the Award in 1992, a total of 74 individuals from 25 countries and territories have been conferred this highest honour in the fields of Medicine and Public Health.  Indeed, four of these Laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine. 


        Seventy-four individuals.  Twenty-five countries. But never before, up until recently, had there ever been a Canadian.


        For this past year’s Award, out of 59 outstanding nominations from 24 countries worldwide, two brilliant individuals were finally selected for this illustrious Prize.  One was from the United Kingdom and one was from Canada.


        Dr. Vladimir Hachinski is one of the world’s leading specialists in stroke, vascular cognitive impairment, and brain-heart interactions.  His pioneering work has created greater awareness of these potentially fatal ailments, and has helped to save and improve millions of lives around the world.  Among other things, Dr. Hachinski established Canada’s first acute stroke unit.  This concept, along with many other practices initiated by Dr. Hachinski, were so successful that they have now become the standard of healthcare worldwide. 


        As Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada, I cannot help but feel a personal sense of gratification that this esteemed prize has been awarded to an individual from Canada for the first time.  And having seen the great advances made in this country in the fields of medicine, public health, science, and technology, I am confident that Dr. Hachinski is simply a trailblazer for many other Prince Mahidol Award Laureates from Canada in the future.


        On this note, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to invite Dr. Theresa Tam, Interim Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, to read a congratulatory message from the Honourable Minister of Health of Canada. Following that, our distinguished guest of honour, Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, will share a few words of wisdom with us.





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