Ithaca, NEW YORK, May 16
“It’s a great honor and privilege to be part of the Cornell community,” said Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand LL.M. '02, J.S.D.’05, on May 10. She was accompanied on this, her first visit to Cornell since graduating, by a delegation from the Thai Bar and the US Royal Thai Embassy, including fellow Cornell Law alum Kittipong Kittayarak, LL.M.’83, Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Justice.
Presenting "Practical Approaches to Law and Diplomacy – A Brief Tour from Cornell to Thailand to the United Nations," Her Royal Highness charted a distinguished career that has taken her not only to arenas of international diplomacy but also to the courtrooms of northeastern Thailand. It was as a prosecutor in the latter milieu that she learned of the challenges facing imprisoned women, in particular pregnant women and mothers. The experience motivated her to initiate the Kamlangjai or “Inspire” project, which provides occupational training and other resources to help these women successfully re-enter society.
The Princess has also been a driving force behind Enhancing Life for Female Inmates (ELFI), a project that resulted in the adoption of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women by the General Assembly in 2010. Additionally, Her Royal Highness is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and in December 2011 she was elected chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).
The Princess concluded her presentation by responding to audience questions on topics ranging from the role of extra-legal strategies in dealing with domestic violence to the attitude of fellow CCPCJ members toward the young age of their chairperson (“I think I’m friendly enough to make everyone happy,” she laughed). When asked what advice she would give Thai students coming to study at Cornell Law, Her Royal Highness said, “Spend a lot of time in the library but also spend some time in Collegetown relaxing.”
At the end of the lecture, Schwab presented the Princess with a framed commemorative print, and the Thai delegation presented Schwab with an embroidery art piece made by Thai villagers under the Support Foundation of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.
Attendees then reconvened in the Berger Atrium for a reception and the renewal of a memorandum of understanding, first established five years ago, between Cornell Law and the Thai Bar Association. After signing the memorandum alongside Chulasingh Vasantasing, Vice President of the Thai Bar and Attorney-General of Thailand, Schwab raised a toast “to many more years of a fruitful relationship between the Thai bar, the kingdom of Thailand, and Cornell Law School.”
-- Owen Lubozynski