Who is she?
Busaya Mathelin is a veteran diplomat currently serving as Thailand’s ambassador to Belgium and head of mission to the European Union. Earlier, Busaya served as ambassador to Spain and Senegal and was director-general of the European Affairs Department in Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Busaya holds master’s degrees in political science and Asian studies, both from the University of Michigan.
Why is she in the news?
Busaya on October 1 will become permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the first woman ever appointed to this post. She is expected to complete a three-year term before hitting mandatory retirement age. Busaya’s appointment by the Thai cabinet was part of a larger reshuffle of senior government and provincial governor positions.
What can we expect from her?
The vast majority of her 30-year diplomatic career has been focused on Europe. Thailand is expected to hold elections in late 2017 to begin its return to a civilian government, and Busaya will likely focus on reinvigorating Thailand’s free trade negotiations with the European Union, which were halted when the military seized power in 2014. Thai foreign minister Don Pramudwinai lauded Busaya’s “clean record, hard work, capability, and seniority,” and said that she will set work guidelines and policies at the Foreign Ministry.