New Thai Ambassador To Sweden In Place

H.E. Mr. Apichart Chinwanno has since January moved to Stockholm to embark on his new posting as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Finland and the Republic of Estonia.
For Mr. Apichart, the posting to Stockholm is particularly challenging as it is the first posting as Ambassador in his career. But it is not his first overseas assignment. In 1995 he was posted as Minister Counselor to the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva in 1995, where he was given responsibility to cover humanitarian affairs and human rights.
His start in Stockholm has obviously been marked by the unprecedented losses of Swedish lives due to the tsunami disaster in Asia, particularly in Thailand. 
“I myself and the Thai people share deeply this sense of sorrow with the Swedish people,” says Mr. Apichart.
“Our embassy received hundreds of letters and e-mails from the Swedes who were at the time in Thailand, expressing their thanks and gratitude to Thailand and the Thai people for the assistance we gave when the disaster struck,” he adds.
“I can sense the enormous goodwill for Thailand in this country, which would provide a strong foundation for me to build on during my term here,” he comments.
Mr. Apichart points out that the ties between Thailand and Sweden are strong with the relationships between both Royal Families so close. This has been further strengthened through the several high-level exchange of visits between the two sides. 
“Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden went to Thailand on a State Visit in 2003 and they returned there again on 17-19 February 2005 as Guests of His Majesty the King of Thailand,” says Mr. Apichart.
“The Prime Minister of Thailand came on an official visit last October 2004 and Prime Minister of Sweden went to Thailand in January this year,” he adds.
There are numerous exchanges of visits between government officials, business people, academics and students throughout the year.  At the people-to-people level, there are over 220,000 Swedish tourists taking vacation in Thailand each year.
“A large number of Swedes know Thailand, its people, culture, traditions and food.  My duty is to strengthen the existing excellent ties, increase the good understanding about one another and broaden and deepen the cooperation between the two countries,” says Mr. Apichart.
“It is also important to continue and sustain the good feeling and goodwill of the Swedish people toward Thailand,” he adds.
Mr. Apichart moved to Sweden with his wife and daughter, while his son is at a boarding school in England. He sees Stockholm as a beautiful city and is impressed by the natural beauties, clean environment and serenity of the country, particularly in the area he lives.
“I am told that the weather will get better and Stockholm will be even more beautiful in spring and summer,” says Mr. Apichart.
“The Swedish people that I have met so far are of course very nice, friendly and welcoming,” he adds.
“Sweden is very advanced in technology, R&D, and management and Thailand can learn a lot from Sweden,” he comments.
Prior to his career in the diplomatic field, Mr. Apichart Chinwanno spent over 10 years studying in the United Kingdom on a Thai Government scholarship. There, he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics from University of Southampton, Master’s degree in International
Relations from University of London and Doctoral degree in International Relations from University of Oxford.
Born on 1 September 1956, Mr. Apichart joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985 initially in the East Asia Division, Department of Political Affairs.
“I spent the early 9 years of my career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok, working in various departments,” says Mr. Apichart.
“These early years were formative years for me and provided me with valuable experience for my diplomatic career,” he adds.
Mr. Apichart’s first posting was as Minister Counsellor to Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva in 1995, where he was given responsibility to cover humanitarian affairs and human rights. He also had the opportunity to closely follow the workings of Commission of Human Rights and its sub committee and working groups, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the Office of High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and various relevant meetings.
Prior to his stay in Stockholm, Mr. Apichart was working for two years as Director-General of Department of East Asian Affairs, responsible for bilateral relations with Thailand’s neighboring countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar as well as countries in Southeast and
Northeast Asia such as China, Japan and Korea.
“The task was rather challenging and the workload has been very heavy with lots of sensitive issues to be dealt with everyday,” says Mr. Apichart.
“Looking back, I am glad that I was part of the team at the Ministry that contributed to the improvement of relations between Thailand and its neighbors, which strengthen peace, stability and economic progress in Southeast Asia,” he adds.
Through years as a diplomat serving and representing the country, Mr. Apichart learned that every nation wants to safeguard and promote its national interest. However, the idea is not through competition but through cooperation, where everyone should think positively and try to find a win-win situation. 
“Through diplomacy and cooperation, you can protect your national interest and win friends at the same time,” remarks Mr. Apichart.
“At the bilateral or multilateral level, we can forge partnership and gain mutual benefits,” he adds.
As a diplomat working in a multicultural environment, Mr. Apichart believes that it is essential to have a good knowledge about your own country as the foremost job of a diplomat is representation.  Also, it is necessary to learn as much as you can about the host country, its history,
political and cultural backgrounds as well as know the issues in the relations and lay down strategy to promote close cooperation for mutual benefits.
“It is important that you try to build networks of contact in government, business, academic and other relevant circles in the countries under your jurisdiction,” comments Mr. Apichart.

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