EMBASSY’S ACTIVITIES / ARTICLES
August 1, 2017
Welcoming Remarks by H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi at the Opening Ceremony of the Amazing Thailand Festival
Welcoming Remarks by
H.E. Mr. Vijavat Isarabhakdi
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada
at the Opening Ceremony of the Amazing Thailand Festival
Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Friday, 28th July 2017
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation which gave birth to this great country. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated on Canada Day earlier this month, diversity has always been at the core of Canada’s success. Indeed, diversity is a quintessential component of Canada’s history, strength and identity. So as Thailand joins with our Canadian and international friends in marking this momentous milestone, I am delighted that the Royal Thai Embassy and the Thai community in Canada are able to be a part of Canada’svibrant cultural mosaic, which has made this country one of the most remarkable places in the world.
Diversity is very well reflected here today. This Amazing Thailand festival, the first major Thai festival ever organized in Ottawa, is part of the “Ottawa Welcomes the World” series of cultural events to celebrate “Canada 150”. The Canadian capital of Ottawa, with embassies and high commissions from almost 130 nations, provides an excellent platform for all to showcase their rich cultural heritage, which forms an intrinsic part of Canada’s diverse identity.
At this festival, various aspects of Thailand’s unique culture are cordially presented to you through our national cuisine, artistic performances, homegrown products, and exquisite services. The festival is a great chance for Canadians to learn more about, and to enjoy, Thai culture right here in the nation’s capital. It also serves as a superb avenue for strengthening the people-to-people ties between Thailand and Canada.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It must be noted that the foundations for the close and cordial relations between Thailand and Canada were laid during another important milestone of this proud nation. It was the Royal Visit to Canada in 1967 of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late beloved King Rama IX, and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of the Kingdom of Thailand, on the occasion of Canada’s centennial anniversary. In addition to visiting Ottawa, Their Majesties also attended the Montreal Expo’67 and travelled to Quebec City, where they addressed audiences in French. It was from this visit that Thai-Canadian bilateral relations were significantly strengthened and further developed.
This strong relationship continued to be fostered, as witnessed in 1986 when His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the 10th and current monarch of the present Chakri Dynasty, in his then capacity as Crown Prince, paid a Royal Visit to Ottawa and Vancouver for Expo’ 86.
Today, the 28th of July, happens to coincide with His Majesty the King’s 65th birthday anniversary, and it is a particularly auspicious day for all Thais. In this regard, the Royal Thai Embassy and the Thai community in Canada feel privileged to commemorate this special occasion with all of you here at the festival. We have set aside an area for a special exhibition to honour His Majesty the King along with his royal father, the late King Rama IX, whose exemplary leadership and sacrifice have been carried forward by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, as he continues to fulfil his father’s legacy for the benefit of the Thai people.
His Majesty King Bhumibol’s strong work ethic is embodied by His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, in his dedication to improving the quality of life of the Thai people. Through numerous Royal Projects, His Majesty has provided both moral and financial support to those in need in various fields.
While His Majesty was a Crown Prince, the Foundation for the Crown Prince Hospitals was established to provide medical and health care for people in rural areas across the country. Realising the significance of agriculture for the country’s economy, His Majesty established the "Mobile Agricultural Clinic Project” nearly two decades ago to promote agricultural development and enhance the welfare of farmers. In terms of education, His Majesty the King is well aware of the importance of human resource development and, accordingly, many education projects have been initiated under his patronage. His Majesty has thus truly persevered and sacrificed in order to bring prosperity and happiness to the people of Thailand.
On this special occasion, there will be a Thai classical dance performance in honour of His Majesty the King, which will follow shortly after my remarks.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cannot end without taking this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the representative offices of the Thai Government, known collectively as Team Thailand, who have joined me at this Festival, many travelling from as far away as New York and Washington, D.C., not to mention distant Toronto, to help promote and provide information on Thai tourism, trade, agriculture, and investment.
I would also like to thank the Thai Association of Ottawa, le Congrès des bénévoles Thaïlandais du Québec, the Thai Dance Troupe of Ottawa, the N-1 Thai Boxing Academy, the Children’s Bridge Foundation, along with all the participating vendors and restaurants, enthusiastic volunteers, as well as the hardworking members of my own staff for their invaluable contributions. Last but not least, I would like to express my gratitude to the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa 2017 team, under the visionary leadership of Mayor Jim Watson. Through this joint collaborative effort, the first ever Thai festival in Ottawa has been made possible.
There will be many exciting activities happening throughout the day at this Amazing Thailand festival. I hope you will have the chance to taste some authentic Thai cuisine prepared by various leading Thai restaurants as well as my own kitchen. There will also be a cooking demonstration of traditional Thai crispy crêpes as well as Thai handicrafts by the professors of Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon who flew all the way from Bangkok to join us at this event. I am most grateful to them as well. In any case, please ensure that you don’t miss the opportunity to savor this hard-to-find Thai delicacy – kanom bueng.
On this note, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to invite you all to raise your glasses and join me in a toast to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun of Thailand – to His Majesty’s good health, happiness and long life – as well as to the long-lasting relations between Thailand and Canada on this 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation.