Expert conference

Understanding Conflict and Approaching Peace in Southern Thailand, Part 2

Fachgespräch zur Vorbereitung einer Studie / Closed Discussion



Since January 2004, the insurgency in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, has resulted until now in the deaths of more than 1,500 people. The emergence of such a situation has threatened peaceful development of Thailand as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation. Thai Muslims constitute about 4 – 5 % of Thai population, making up the largest religious group after the Buddhist majority.

The unrest in the South has raised national concern about how to bring about peaceful resolution to the crisis, how to rebuild peaceful relations between the Buddhist and Muslim sections of the country and continue on the path of building civil society in Thailand.

Moreover, the conflict in Southern Thailand has attracted international attention, raising concerns that the situation will be exploited by international terrorists as a reason to launch a jihad in Thailand.

The main problem facing Thailand at the present is how to bring about peace through national reconciliation, which recognizes the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic characters of Thai polity at national level and would lead to the end of conflict and bloodshed.

The Thai government has been trying to find solutions to the crisis in a multi-pronged manner undertaking political, security, cultural and religious initiatives: Building reconciliation by peaceful means, reducing use of military force and considering establishment of a self-administrative zone in the restive provinces. All of them are still being studied, and many of them are under debate.

For these reasons, Konrad Adenauer Foundation Thailand has set up a research project, starting from December 2005 to June 2006, with a conference and a publication as outcomes. The main objective of the conference is to offer a forum for Thai and international academics and public figures to explain the historical background, which is little known, and reasons behind the unrest in the Southern Thailand, focusing tensions and pressures that have contributed to the prolonging of the conflict. The conference also aims to provide suggestions on rebuilding the peace in the region.

Speakers are prominent political scientists, political philosophers, security analysts, religion specialists and peace activists, who are engaging both academically and practically in addressing and seeking solutions for the Southern crisis. Some of them are members of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), set up by the Thai government as an independent body to find solutions to the problem.

Prominent researchers and their research titles to be presented in the conference are as follows:

  1. “Facing Southern Violence with Peace Reconciliation – An Islamic Perspective”

    Prof Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Thammasat University,

  2. “The Malaysian Factor in the Prospects for Peace in Southern Thailand”

    Prof Omar Farouk, Hiroshima City University,

  3. “The Ethno-Religious Dimension of the Conflict in Southern Thailand”

    Dr Imtiyaz Yusuf, Assumption University,

  4. “Building High-Trust Cultures for Peace in the South of Thailand”

    Asst Prof Dr Warayuth Sriwarakuel, Assumption University,

  5. “Divided Loyalities: The Moral Basis of Peace in Multicultural World of Conflict and Humiliation”

    Prof Gerhold Becker, Assumption University,

  6. “State Formation and Development of Ethnic Politics in Thailand”

    Asst Prof Thanet Apornsuvan, Thammasat University,

  7. “Harmony and Reconciliation in Southernmost Provinces of Thailand”

    Dr Gothom Arya, Mahidol University,

  8. “The Security Dimension of the Crisis in Southern Thailand”

    Asst Prof Dr Panitan Wattanayagorn, Chulalongkorn University,

The researches presented in the conference will be published with support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and released in June 2006.

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  • Dr. Surin Pitsuwan
    • MP
    • Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Prof. Chaiwat Satha-anand
    • Thammasat University
  • Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf
    • Assumption University
  • Dr.Gotham Arya
    • Mahidol University
  • Dr. Lars Peter Schmidt
    • KAS - Thailand.

Dr. Lars Peter Schmidt †

Resident Representative to India

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Thailand Office