Bangkok on Nobel map

The Nation, October 30, 2007

Suddenly, Bangkok will see a meeting of minds on two of the most topical subjects of the day.

It's a coincidence but two Nobel Prize winners for economics will be in Bangkok for a series of lectures over the next two weeks.

The fact that both are from Columbia University will make Thai alumni of this Ivy institution very excited.

The two are Prof Joseph Stiglitz and Prof Robert Mundell. Winning a Nobel Prize in 2001, Stiglitz currently teaches at the Columbia Business School, the Department of Economics and the School of International and Public Affairs. He will be in Bangkok at the invitation of The Nation. He first spoke at The Nation's international conference on the aftermath of the Asian crisis back in 1998. Since then, he has made several visits.

Stiglitz will address a luncheon organized by the Thai Institute of Directors at the JB Marriott Hotel on October 31. Don't bother trying to get a seat. All are fully booked as many want to see him talk about his book "Making Globalization Work"

Professor Mundell is returning again as the guest speaker of the International Peace Foundation for a lecture series: "Bridges: Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace". The Nation is the media partner for the series.

Often known as the father of the common currency, Mundell won the Nobel Prize in 1999 and has lectured at Columbia University in New York City since 1974.

He is in Asia at the time of yet another uncertain period for major currencies whose trends are dictating the development pace of Asian nations for years to come. Mundell will begin as the keynote speaker at Siam University on November 12. The university is organizing an international conference in celebration of HM the King's 80th birthday on "The Sufficiency-Economy Philosophy and Sustainable Development".

He will speak on "Remaking the International Exchange System: The Optimum Currency Area Approach to a Global Currency" at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce on November 13 before travelling on to the Philippines.

Both Nobel laureates will certainly give the Thai public food for thought.

We are happy to welcome them here at a time when debates on the future direction of the Thai economy have taken many a twist and turn towards a state of confusion.

The pair of distinguished economists may help us to put our mindsets on the right track.