Writer and Japanologist
Alex Kerr is known for his work on regional revitalization and the restoration of traditional homes, having restored over forty houses in towns around Japan. Alex speaks to groups across Japan about ways to revive their local economies by preserving cultural heritage and developing sustainable tourism. He writes in both English and Japanese, and is the author of numerous books on Japan, including Lost Japan (1993), Dogs and Demons (2001), and Another Kyoto (2016).
Alex first visited Thailand in 1973, and since 1990 spends about half of each year in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and travels widely in Northern Thailand, as well as Laos, Myanmar, and Southern China. In Thailand he founded Origin, a program to introduce Thai arts to foreign visitors. His experiences in Bangkok appears in his book Bangkok Found (River Books 2010).
Senior security consultant
Dr. Bhume Bhumiratana is a researcher, educator and practitioner in cybersecurity. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 2009, specializing in application security design, privacy design and implementation, and modern cryptography. Dr. Bhumiratana conducted research in the Department of Computer Engineering at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi from 2009-2014.
His industry consulting experience includes serving as a principal consultant at a leading IT company in Thailand, where he created a new business unit focusing on security consulting solutions. He built and managed a team of cybersecurity researchers, consultants and implementers specializing in products in the area of advanced authentication technology, machine learning and big-data, and cybersecurity. In addition, he also serves as technology consultant for the Security and Exchange Commissioner’s Office Thailand (SEC).
Charlie Wilson is a dynamic performance poet who writes cathartic, spiritually imbued verse. Charlie sees the role of the artist as a conduit for reconnecting with the timeless spiritual dimension beyond the comings and goings of the world. He has run writing workshops at festivals and for charities aiming to reach disadvantaged youths. He runs shamanic journeys and holds ceremonial space under the moniker ‘Sacred Love’.
Charlie’s poems can relate to all people across the world. His poems cover love, nature, family and much more. His most famous work is “Earth,” where his verse creates an emotional connection between living beings on our home planet. Among his notable works are his awareness poems, such as “Addiction,” which looks at human addiction to technology and materialism and how it takes us away from being what humans naturally are.
Founded in 2012, Chiang Mai Swing Dance is a group of swing dancers from around the world who live in Chiang Mai. Owing to the improvisational and playful nature of the dance, swing dance is enjoyed by people of all ages and groups as a means to communicate, express creativity, relieve stress, appreciate music and make new friends. A voluntary organizing team of the Chiang Mai Swing Dance group hosts weekly classes, social dances, and also organizes workshops and dance outings in a variety of locations.
Faifan is a lecturer at Chiang Mai University with a hobby in swing dancing. She started dancing in 2006 in the US and has participated in social dancing, performances and competitions. She has been involved in the organization of numerous local swing dance communities, where she welcomes and instructs new swing dance enthusiasts. Faifan has joined forces with several other dance enthusiasts and currently is leading the growing swing dance community in Chiang Mai.
Founder of Monsoon tea
Involved in the field of tea since 1994, Kenneth opened his first tea shop in Spain under the wing of his mentor Per Sundmalm, who founded the Tea Shop of East West Company, Spain and introduced Kenneth to the world of tea. It was Per who first told Kenneth about the existence of wild tea. Parallel to the expansion of the East West Company, Spain, of which Kenneth later became a co-owner, he began traveling the tea world to expand his knowledge and find the elusive wild tea. His journey took him to the best tea-producing areas in China, India and Japan.
His travels finally led him to Thailand, impressed by the unique and remarkable flavor of Miang (fermented tea leaves from wild and free-grown tea plants enjoyed by Thai mountain dwellers for centuries) and the sustainable way it is grown, Kenneth started a new enterprise called Monsoon Tea in 2013, aiming to make it a center for spreading knowledge and development of sustainable tea production.
Dr. Kirida is an economist with expertise in analysing the developments of the global and Thai economies. Dr. Kirida is currently the Research Director for the International Research and Advisory Service at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), a leading independent think tank in Thailand. She also leads the exclusive TDRI Economic Intelligence Service (EIS), where she prepares content for monthly seminars on economic issues of high relevance and significance for Thailand.
Dr. Kirida is a recognized fixture in economic and business circles in Thailand. She appears regularly in the media and speaks at high-level forums organized by public and private organizations in Thailand and overseas. Dr Kirida holds a PhD in Economics from Cornell University through the prestigious Ananda Mahidol Foundation Scholarship.
Musician and the owner of Baan Phati
Klee Bho is an artist and the owner of Baan Phati Homestay in Galyani Vadhana District, Chiang Mai. He was granted a scholarship and graduated in music at Payap University and gained a masters degree in art and management from Chiang Mai University.
He welcomes outsiders to his homestay to share the culture and lifestyle of the S’gaw Karen (Pakayaw) and has built a merchandising brand to support local crafts under the name “Chiang Mai Karen’s Crafts.” He also supports local farmers’ production of organic rice under the brand “Thong Dee Brown Rice.” As a musician, he modifies and creates versions of melodies using native musical instruments. With the right management, he believes that his community has the resources and values for success.
Owner and Chef of Locus Native Food Lab
Kongwuth Chaiwongkachon is the owner and chef of Locus Native Food Lab in Chiang Rai. While working at the renowned Dhara Dhevi Hotel in Chiang Mai, he had the opportunity to live and learn with the Pakayaw tribe, studying their use of indigenous plants and herbs. Through this process he became captivated with northern Thai food and culture.
Chef Kongwuth’s goal is to preserve native recipes and their histories while recreating them in new ways in his food lab. Locus Native Food Lab is not a restaurant, it is a place where you go to be inspired and to hear stories about traditional northern cooking methods and recipes. Chef Kongwuth invites the next generation of cooks to explore and recreate these dishes in new and wonderful ways.
Sustainability consultant, Blogger and Educator
Madeleine is a passionate educator, speaker, facilitator, blogger and sustainability consultant, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds how to live with less using the 7R’s: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and rot. She has dedicated the past two years to learning, implementing, and teaching new ways to live a fully sustainable life in an urban environment.
She is a full-time lecturer at Bangkok University International, where she also advises on internships, mentors entrepreneurial-minded students, and fosters sustainable choices and behaviour among her students and colleagues.
Founder of The Happiness Planner
Born in Bangkok, Mo Seetubtim grew up with a very traditional Thai mother and a father who introduced her to western philosophy and to the field of personal development. In contrast to her parents, Mo grew up in a duel east-west environment giving her a unique perspective life and happiness. From a very young age Mo wanted to inspire people to live life with purpose and passion by finding happiness from within. She yearns to share her technique and philosophy with everyone.
In early 2015, Mo launched the Happiness Planner. This is a planner and journal designed to help people create more happiness and fulfillment in their lives by embracing the power of positive thinking, mindfulness, gratitude and self-development. The “Happiness Planner” was featured in TEDxLondon and TEDxOakland and has sold more than 200,000 copies worldwide.
Entrepreneur, Inventor, Venture capitalist, Educator and LEGO Certified Facilitator
Nati Sang is an entrepreneur, inventor, venture capitalist, educator and LEGO Certified Facilitator, and has twice taken the robes as a Buddhist monk. He created Makerspace Thailand as a Community Innovation Lab providing the tools, knowledge and opportunity necessary for anyone to be an innovator.
Nati was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Fresno, California to a loving family of Thai parents who encouraged his enthusiasm to learn from an early age. He studied East Asian Cultures and Languages at UCLA, and worked in Silicon Valley as an IT professional and dot-com entrepreneur. Nati has lived in Thailand for the past 15 years and currently resides with his wife Joy S. Sang in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Chief executive officer of CREATE
Ng Yeen Seen is a public intellectual and a young thought leader. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2016 and was recently appointed as an Ambassador for TN50 (National Transformation 2050) by the Government of Malaysia. She is active in international relations with experiences in political analysis, business development, research and policy analysis, and strategic and publicity communications. Furthermore, she is a mentor in Obama’s YSEALI programme in 2016
Currently, Yeen Seen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Research, Advisory and Technology (CREATE). In 2014, She also founded a grassroots movement, #OpsHarapan, after the worst flood hit the East-Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Even today, the movement continues to support the local communities affected.
Oraya Sutabutr is a graduate in psychology from the University of Clark and has an MA in literature from the University of Victoria. When she noticed the drastically decreasing amount of trees in the Sukhumvit 35 area of Bangkok, in 2010, Oraya joined the “Big Trees Project”, which raises awareness and protects green spaces in urban areas through social media.
With the help of the Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture at Chulalongkorn University, and the Somdet Chaopraya Institute of Psychiatry, Oraya has been the main drive behind the “Tree School” which educates tree enthusiasts how to take care of plant life properly.
Bioengineer, Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Lower Northern Science Park.
Pakpoom Subsoontorn is a bioengineer, a lecturer at Naresuan University and the deputy director of the Lower Northern Science Park. He specialises in synthetic biology, an emerging research area related to design and construction of artificial biological devices and living systems. His work in synthetic DNA logic switching and data storage has been recognised as providing key innovations in programming life. He is also interested in science communication and the impacts of synthetic biology on society, especially in the developing world. He co-founded the ‘Hack Biodesign’ group Thailand and writes for the popular science Facebook page: “Biology Beyond Nature.”
Deputy Managing Director of Marketing at Matichon group
Parnbua Boonparn is the Deputy Managing Director of Marketing at Matichon group. She is responsible for online/offline advertising, pocket books sales, event organization, job training and more. She is on the committee of Books For Children Foundation, a non-profit organization, and is a board member at the Chinese Studies Center under the Institute of Asian Studies at Chulalongkorn University.
Her former positions include working as a columnist for Prachachat Business Newspaper, the managing editor of Matichon Publishing House, director of Matichon Academy and Vice President for Foreign Affairs at the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT). Among her notable contributions, she has encouraged publishers to translate influential and inspiring books into Thai, such as “An Inconvenient Truth,” which helps Thai people understand global warming, and “I Am Malala,” whose author won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Piyasak Keawsaart (MAUY) graduated in Fine Arts from Chiang Mai University, specializing in painting. Inspired by street art and graffiti during a visit to Germany and Switzerland in 2014, he became fascinated with the medium and through practice launched his own career as a street artist in Thailand.
In his unique anthropomorphic style, he creates wild animals with human characteristics as reflections on the human condition. By bringing wild animals to the urban visual landscape, he hopes that, even if only for a short time, people and nature will be brought closer together.
Ronnarong (Ong) Khampha is a dancer and choreographer from Northern Thailand. Captivated by Lanna dance when he was young, he graduated with an honors degree in Thai arts from Chiang Mai University in 2005.
Although his background is traditional, Ronnarong's focus is on contemporary performance. He has developed his own style using old-style dance as the base and then venturing into new aesthetics. Ronnarong studied Javanese and Balinese dance in Solo (Surakarta), Indonesia for two years (2006-08), and Japanese Noh Drama for six months in Kyoto (2010).
Ronnarong has performed solo and collaborated with artists from Thailand, America, Japan, Korea, Australia and Indonesia in dance festivals in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
Ruangsak Anuwatwimon is a contemporary artist who has exhibited his works in several countries. His fascination with art began when he studied at Pohchang Academy of Arts in 1994. Ruangsak saw art as something that defied easy definition beyond the traditional two-dimensional plane. Thus, he started creating installation works, first performing in 2001 under the name Metamorphosis at Siam Art Space.
Most of Ruangsak’s work portrays different aspects in the connection between humans and nature, depicting, for example, the cruelty of humans towards other beings. This has led him to create such meaningful works as “Revenge” (2006), “Ash Heart Project” (2007), and “Project Golem” (2012). He recently collaborated with Greenpeace Thailand’s “Right to Clean Air - The Art Exhibition,” raising awareness of the drastic increase of air pollution in Thailand’s major cities.
Owner of Illusion Co.,Ltd
Surachai Puthikulangkura studied fine arts at Chiang Mai University and then visual design with Tokyo designer Gakuin in Japan. Surachai’s fascination with art realism, photo retouching and digital photography led him to start Thailand’s first computer generated imaging (CGI) studio called Illusion CGI Studio. Working with passion and attention to detail in a co-operative spirit has been the underlying philosophy that has helped lead to Illusion Studio’s success in creating award-winning advertisementd. Surachai is the first Thai national illustrator to have received international recognition through winning world-class Grand Prix awards from organizations like Cannes Lions, Clio Awards, Lia wards and One Show 2015.
Director and Co-founder of the Science and Technology Park
Assistant Professor Dr. Tanyanuparb Anantana is the director and co-founder of the Science and Technology Park (STeP) at Chiang Mai University. He also leads seven universities as chairman of the Northern Science Park (NSP) supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Thailand.
Since 2010, STeP and NSP have played an important role in university-industry linkage by promoting innovation development from university know-how and research, supporting utilization of science/technology/innovation for SMEs, and building up tech startups in Chiang Mai and the northern region of Thailand. In addition, Dr. Tanyanuparb is one of the key persons driving the high profile “Talent Mobility” program being implemented in Thailand.
Lecturer and Director for Behavioral and Experimental Economics at Chulalongkorn University
Dr. Thanee Chaiwat is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics and Director for Behavioral and Experimental Economics at Chulalongkorn University (CBEE). He holds a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Bologna, Italy and is the head of the project at the Laboratory for Architectural Design and Social Responsibility (SIAM lab). His research publications include economic analyses of such issues as societal behavior, human trafficking and political corruption. Dr. Thanee believes that understanding Thai society from different perspectives and considering the essential nature of humanity is vital in setting economic and political policy that strives to help human societies reach their fullest potential.
Lecturer and Director of the Big Data Experience Center
Dr. Tiranee Achalakul has worked in the fields of big data analytics, high performance computing, and software engineering since 2000. She has wide experience working with both the IT industry and in academia in the United States and Thailand in fields such as design and implementation of data methodologies, software systems and computing infrastructure; she has published two textbooks and multiple journal and conference papers.
During the past 14 years, Dr. Tiranee Achalakul has been participating in many data analytics and software development projects in the private and public sectors and has served on advisory boards for multiple agencies and on the committee of the National e-Science Infrastructure Consortium of Thailand. In addition to being Assistant President in Innovation and Partnership with the King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi, she is Director of the Big Data Experience Center and the KMUTT student incubator (Hatch).
Chef, Entrepreneur, Restaurateur, Author, Social worker.
Walter Lee or ‘Chef Kani’ is an entrepreneur, restaurateur, author, and currently a social worker. He started his first international brand company, ‘Venture Tec’ in 1994. He is also the co-founder of an international franchise restaurant, ‘Exquisine Thai’ and starred in TV cooking programs for over 20 years in Thailand.
Zy Kher Lee has inspired his father, Walter Lee, and others to establish the Zy Movement Foundation (www.zmf-asia.org) to raise awareness and inspire independent living to the 10 million children with movement disabilities in South-east Asia. Zy embraces the outdoors and have participated in all of ZMF’s signature activity, ”Claim To Change A Life.” He has become the youngest disabled child in the world to reach the summits of Mount Kinabalu, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Fuji and many other mountains in between and many more to come.