The event took place at the Sriburapha Auditorium, Thammasat University, in Bangkok. UNESCO honors Dr. Puey on the occasion of the centenary of his birth in 2016.
Thailand’s nomination of Dr. Puey was approved at the 38th session of the UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris between 3 and 18 November 2015. His name is listed in UNESCO’s Calendar of Anniversaries of Great Personalities and Historic Events, 2016-2017.
Dr. Puey Ungphakorn, educator and economist (1916-1999), was former Governor of the Bank of Thailand and Rector of Thammasat University. He is widely recognized as one of the fathers of Thailand’s post-World War II economic development, as well as a prominent educator and civil servant of impeccable ethics, who has had a major impact on national development.
Dr. Puey played a central role in the shaping of Thailand’s economic development and in the strengthening of its system of higher education. His capacity to strike a compromise between what was objectively possible and morally desirable was an extraordinary accomplishment.
It had a particular impact on younger people, almost all of whose models have traditionally been either successful rogues, who manipulate their social environment for their own advantage, or martyrs who succumb to it.
Dr. Puey also had a far-ranging regional impact, as evidenced by his Magsaysay Award in government service, considered to be the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize. His career confirms the conviction that a single individual can make significant contributions to the progress of his country.
In his keynote address, M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Chairman of Puey Ungphakorn Institute, said, "Puey was an ordinary person who led an extraordinary life and became one of the most respected public figures in Thailand. Throughout his exceptional career, his many initiatives laid strong foundations for all the offices he was in charge of or involved in.”