NIST’s shared history with the United Nations has strongly impacted the evolution of our mission and values since we opened nearly 25 years ago. We’re very proud of all that so many of our alumni have accomplished in carrying those values forward as they go on to universities and careers around the globe. This week our belief in the power of integrity, caring, community and growth was validated as Praya Lundberg (ไป รยา สวนดอกไม้), from the Class of 2007, was appointed to be a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Also known as the UN Refugee Agency, this branch of the UN is tasked to “lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems“. With the global refugee crisis reaching epidemic proportions, compounded by a wave of isolationism, promoting diversity, tolerance and empathy for others has become more important than ever. Goodwill Ambassadors for the UN Refugee Agency are selected not only for their status as well-recognized public figures, but also their dedication to raising awareness of these issues.
Praya represents the first Thai Goodwill Ambassador, and the first to ever be appointed for the Southeast Asian region. She will be joining other well-known figures and UNHCR ambassadors – Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Jung Woo-sung, Yao Chen and several others – in campaigning for refugee rights. Her efforts, while concentrated on refugee populations in Thailand, will also encompass other areas around Asia.
As a NIST graduate who completed the IB Diploma Programme, Praya embodies the ideals of international education and our own aim to inspire, empower and enrich lives. In a TEDx talk delivered at NIST in 2015, she described how her experiences at the school impacted her personal growth, as well as the ways in which our diverse community influenced her and developed into a passion for serving others.
This drive to make a difference in the world lies at the heart of a NIST education, and we’re proud that Praya and so many other NIST alumni continue to seek out ways in which they can leverage their privilege to advocate for those who may not have their voices heard. On their behalf, we will continue striving to use knowledge and lifelong learning as tools to bring about positive change in Thailand and beyond.
Image ©UNHCR/Thanasade Tantiwarodom