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A Dialogue on the Role of Royalty in 21st Century: Focus on Thailand

What: “The King in 21st Century: for who and why?”
A dialogue between Estonian politician Valdo Randpere and Thai political scholar Pavin Chachavalpongpun 
When: Thursday, September 27 at 19:00
Where: Astra Building, Researchers’ Forum (Astra Building 1 fl.), Tallinn University, Narva Road 29

The 800-year old Thai monarchy owes its ongoing survival to the late King Bhumibol, revered by the people during his 70-year rule, and who radiated a deep moral authority. He was succeeded in 2016 by his son Maha Vajiralongkorn who spends most of his time in Germany enjoying life, increasing his wealth by various means while consolidating his power. However, any criticism of the king of Thailand is prohibited by the lèse-majesté law originating from the beginning of the last century. The author of several books and internationally vocal political commentator Pavin Chachavalpongpun will discuss the climate of fear created by the current king. He will elaborate on the role of king in contemporary Thailand and more broadly in the world, in dialogue with Valdo Randpere, the chairman of Estonia-Southeast Asia parliamentary group.

Free snacks and drinks will be served.

“Other monarchies in the world have survived into the modern era by adapting. The Thai king, by contrast, is contesting modernity by clinging tightly to an anachronistic law. Nothing could be better calculated to drive the monarchy into unavoidable decline.”—Pavin Chachavalpongpun in the Washington Post (June 22, 2018)

About Pavin Chachavalpongpun:
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, formerly a Thai diplomat, is currently based at Kyoto University, Japan, where he is an associate professor at its Centre for Southeast Asian Studies. Following the 2014 military coup in Thailand, he was twice called to account by the military junta for his critical statements. Rejecting the summons, his Thai passport was revoked and he was charged under the terms of the lèse-majesté law. Pavin has applied for a refugee status with the Japanese government.

Pavin actively posts on his Facebook page, which is followed by 144, 000 people, and gives comments about the current political situation in Thailand to the international media. He holds a PhD in Political Science (2002) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and is the author of the following books: Good Coup Gone Bad: Thailand’s Political Developments Since Thaksin’s DownfallA Plastic Nation: The Curse of Thainess in Thai-Burmese Relations; and Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy. He is also a chief editor of Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia.

 Pavin is in Tallinn University with Erasmus + staff mobility programme, and is teaching a course Southeast Asian societies and states (for more on this, see; the event is organized by Tallinn University’s Asia Department and sponsored by the Research Fund of its School of Humanities. Contact: Karin Dean (

About Valdo Randpere:
Valdo Randpere is a well-known Estonian politician and a member of liberal Reform Party Faction in Estonian Parliament. He is the chairman of Estonia-Southeast Asia parliamentary group.