Fellow Since 1994
This profile was prepared when Chaiwat Thirapantu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.
The New Idea
The Bangkok Forum was established in 1994 to develop new public institutions and to encourage a sense of solidarity and purpose among Bangkok's citizens. Through public discussions, political education, and public activities, the Bangkok Forum motivates individuals and groups toward increased civic involvement and responsibility. The Forum seeks to redefine and restructure existing civic institutions, such as political parties and city agencies that currently do not encourage access to information or public participation in their decision-making. It strives, therefore, to act as a catalyst that cuts across organizational lines and helps Bangkok's citizens to cope directly with their common problems through active public participation. Drawing from disparate groups of people and occupations, the Bangkok Forum attracts those who want to discuss political, social, and economic issues; study approaches that have been tried in various parts of the world; and devise action plans that are best suited to Bangkok. The Forum's ideas are then presented to the media for wider dissemination and comment and to government itself in ways that increase the likelihood of their implementation.