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New endowment strengthens ties with Thailand


By umich - Posted on 30 December 2009

Source: University of Michigan - Leaders & Best, Fall 2009 issue

A donor from half a world away has enriched an important cultural legacy on the Ann Arbor campus, while strengthening opportunities for future engagement between the U.S. and his homeland.

Dr. Amnuay and his wife, Samonsri: The Amnuay-Samonsri Viravan Endowment for
Thai Studies reflects the couple’s commitment to
education and to strengthening U.S.–Thai relations.Dr. Amnuay and his wife, Samonsri: The Amnuay-Samonsri Viravan Endowment for
Thai Studies reflects the couple’s commitment to
education and to strengthening U.S.–Thai relations.

Through a $200,000 gift to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Dr. Amnuay Viravan (MBA ’54, AM ’57, PhD ’59, HLLD ’90), of Bangkok, Thailand, has launched the Amnuay-Samonsri Viravan Endowment for Thai Studies at the University of Michigan. Named for (MBA ’57), the endowment reflects their commitment to education and
to strengthening U.S. –Thai relations. It will fund scholarships for Thai language study, study-abroad programs and internships for American students, visits by Thai scholars to Michigan and Thai-related research by U-M faculty. The fund will further enhance U.S.– Thai relations in academic, business and
professional areas by supporting conferences, lectures and outreach activities.
The Viravan fund adds to more than $266,000 given by the Thai Embassy since 2007 in support of Thai Studies at CSEAS. Dr. Amnuay continues to work to obtain additional gifts from the Thai corporate community to help his named endowment reach its targeted $1 million goal. The fund’s total will also expand through matches from President Coleman’s donor challenge for gifts in support of global study opportunities. For more information visit www.giving.umich.edu/presidents-challenge.

Thailand’s former Minister of Finance and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Amnuay has been a valued supporter of higher education in his country as well as a volunteer and generous donor on behalf of Michigan, including support for the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. As Michigan looks to expand its connections in Asia through alumni engagement and university research partnerships, Dr. Amnuay has been a pivotal contact, recently hosting a U-M delegation visiting his country. “He is the face of Michigan in Thailand,” said Linda Lim, CSEAS director. “He’s been an inspiration for Thai students looking to study at the U-M and a tremendous resource as we look to deepen our relationships in Asia.”

Learn more about the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at www.ii.umich.edu/cseas



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