U.S. Ambassador Visit to Chiang Mai and Lamphun
Ambassador Godec’s Visit to Chiang Mai and Lamphun to Promote Sustainable Economic Development; Inclusive Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and Strong Communities
From August 28-29, U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec and Consul General Lisa Buzenas met with local government and civil society leaders, key Thai research institutions, young entrepreneurs and community leaders, and U.S. businesses in Chiang Mai and Lamphun to discuss U.S.-Thai cooperation across several shared priorities.
Ambassador Godec and CG Buzenas met with Lamphun Governor Santithorn Yimlamai and executives from U.S. company PepsiCo to tour the PepsiCo factory in Lamphun and discuss the importance of trade and investment between our countries. PepsiCo – the largest U.S. investor in northern Thailand – employs more than 1,000 workers at production plants producing Lays potato chips and other brands. PepsiCo works with over 4,000 potato farmers across the region, including through promotion of regenerative farming techniques that enhance yields and protect the environment.
Ambassador Godec and CG Buzenas also visited Chiang Mai University’s Science and Technology Park (STeP) to learn more about STeP’s small business incubator for aspiring entrepreneurs and discuss ways to promote entrepreneurship in northern Thailand, including by attracting new U.S. investment. For example, in July, the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai partnered with STeP, Amazon Global Selling, Bank of Thailand, and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) to train 80 entrepreneurs from northern Thailand on financial literacy and e-commerce marketplaces.
They also meet with the leaders of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) to hear how NARIT has developed new inclusive astronomy education resources for persons with disabilities, including visually impaired students, using NASA-inspired technology and teaching aids.
Ambassador Godec and CG Buzenas also met with alumni of U.S. exchange programs who are entrepreneurs, NGO workers, and leaders in their communities. They discussed community development work that supports indigenous and underrepresented communities, environmental rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights, as well as how U.S. exchange programs can help Thai youth develop new skills and connections. Every year, the U.S. Mission to Thailand supports hundreds of exchange opportunities for young people and professionals from across the country.
They also visited the Elephant Nature Park to underscore the importance of preserving and protecting animals that are such an important part of Thai culture.