Don Pramudwinai is a veteran Thai diplomat and the new foreign minister of Thailand. He was previously a deputy foreign minister, and has served as the Thai ambassador to United States and permanent representative to the United Nations. Don received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University.
Why is he in the news?
Don on August 20 replaced General Tanasak Patimapragorn as foreign minister during a cabinet reshuffle aimed at reinvigorating Thailand’s slowing economy and foreign relations since the May 2014 military coup. Prior to his new appointment, Don played a central role in communicating Thailand’s position on the U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report released in July – which ranked Thailand at the lowest tier – and the migrant crisis in Southeast Asia in May. He visited the United States earlier this year, when he met with U.S. government officials and the policy community in a bid to maintain open channels between the two countries whose relations have been strained since Thailand’s 2014 coup.
What can we expect from him?
As a former ambassador to the United States, Don will work to chart a way forward in post-coup Thai-U.S. relations. His biggest challenge will lie in convincing Thailand’s foreign partners, especially its longtime ally the United States, that the current military government plans to hand over power to a new, civilian government in a relatively short time.
Thumbnail image: Seal of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Source: Wikimedia, public domain.