11 July 2024

What do young celebrities like actor Chanon “Nonkul” Santinatornkul, singer Nanthapak “Fame” Kittirattanawiwat and Gen X media personalities Karuna Buakamsri and Thapanee Eadsrichai have in common? And what do opposition politician Parit “I-tim” Wacharasindhu and Vithit Utsahajit, aka Editor Vithit of Kai-Hua-Roh comic books, share?

While the easy answer would be they are all celebrities in their own right and well-known names in Thai society, public organization Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park) takes it one step further. To them, these people are role models in the learning culture. They fall into the same category of people who inspire others and thus deserve special recognition.

Karuna Buakamsri, another role model for learning

As part of its goal to promote life-long learning and in line with the attempt to transform Bangkok into one of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), TK Park has organized the first-ever “Learning Fest Bangkok 2023” under Wonderlearn theme to underline the importance of learning in Thai society.

The festival, a collaborative effort between TK Park, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and over 30 affiliated learning organizations, runs from 14 to 17 September and aims to explore the power of curiosity and its role in personal and societal development in our ever-evolving world.  With more than 30 programmes including panel discussions, interactive community learning, creative workshops, process-oriented training, and inspirational sessions, TK Park hopes that there will be something for everyone who is willing to learn.

Kittirat Pitipanich, director of TK Park

Kittirat Pitipanich, director of TK Park under the Office of Knowledge Management and Development (OKMD), says the concept behind this event underlines the importance of curiosity or the word “Eh” in Thai. “The ‘Eh’ moments are one of the pathways to lifelong learning that everyone can use to develop themselves and society amidst various changes in the world.”

The 10 awardees at the opening of Learning Fest 2023

In order to emphasize the importance of learning, the festival debuts with special awards to 10 outstanding individuals who serve as role models in inspiring curiosity and creating new possibilities that drive societal change. In its inaugural year,  the awards were presented on the festival opening day of 14 September, to:

1.Young politician Parit  I-tim for his transformative work that has raised awareness and curiosity about local issues.

2. Editor Vithit for his pioneering work in publishing animation books and producing 3D animation movies.

3. Assoc. Prof. Atthaphon Annanvarosakul aka Dr. Hug of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Education, for his contributions to the education and learning sector.

4. TV host and media personality Phuvanat Kunnalin for his role as a communicator who provides answers to questions and fosters creativity.

5. News personality and documentary filmmaker Ms. Korawan Buakamsri for her dedication to taking Thai audiences around the world to learn about the world and current affairs.

6. Thapanee, founder of The Reporters online media, for encouraging questions, curiosity, and the pursuit of knowledge and answers.

7.  Chanon, an actor and artist who serves as an inspiring role model for society.

8.  Nunthapak, a member of BNK48, for supporting learning, education, inspiring others, and unlimited communication.

9. Waew Saengneon, an actress and sports enthusiast who promotes exercise and physical fitness.

10.   Krupat Ketphan, an actor and family man, for his growth and humility.

The 10 awardees expressed their gratitude at being recognized by TK Park.

“I am extremely delighted. I think that receiving this award probably stems from many people hearing that right from my early days in the industry, I gradually developed myself and landed my first acting roles. Since then, I have enjoyed consistent acting gigs in Thailand and even had the opportunity to work in China. I’m glad that what I do has become something that inspires everyone. I feel very good and thankful for this award,” Chanon said.

Nanthapak or Fame BNK said that she felt extremely honored to receive this award. “Curiosity drove me to learn sign language during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, I can communicate with hearing-impaired fans even though my sign language skills are not perfect. I’m trying to be their voice, and I want everyone to open their hearts and understand their perspective. ‘Aha’ moments begin with curiosity and the effort to find answers. We will surely find suitable solutions along the way.”

Singer Nunthapak Nunthapat “Fame” Kittirattanawiwat and her Eh Award

“I hope that the four days of this festival from September 14 to 17, 2023, will mark a period of exploration in the field of learning at TK Park. We hope to witness the learning journeys of each individual extending far beyond this event, covering the entire city of Bangkok and making it a city of learning in every sense,” Mr. Kittirat concluded.

By Thai PBS World Feature Desk