The Future International Leaders Programme was recently started by the Foreign Commonwealth Office to promote lasting partnerships with a new generation of talented people from countries that have increasing economic and political power.
The scheme’s first programme was held in March and included Ms. Tipwadee Vimutisunthorn from Thailand. She was one of 12 participants from a diverse group that included people from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, and United Arab Emirates.
The participants met the British Foreign Secretary and engaged widely with key figures across UK society - including in legal institutions, Parliament and local government, research and innovation centres, the City, economy, media and culture. Ms Tipwadee was chosen from a wide field of Thai candidates because of the breadth of her experience and networks in trade and education - areas which are at the heart of the UK’s relationship with Thailand
Thailand’s participant met Ambassador Mark Kent upon her return to discuss the programme and exchange views on an interesting range of topics related to her work as a trade policy adviser and other opportunities for Thailand, the UK and European nations to work together. Exciting opportunities were seen for furthering relationships in the areas of trade, education, research and development, science and academia.
Ms. Tipwadee said:
Taking part in the Future International Leaders Programme was a fascinating experience, encompassing a broad range of many interesting aspects of the UK and its relationship with the emerging powers. Being together alongside participants with diverse background and experiences from other nations gave me a richer perspective during the vibrant debates and discussions we had throughout the programme. This visit also brought into sharp focus the depth of the relationship and the extraordinary range of issues on which Thailand and the UK have shared interests and concerns. The dynamism and value that Britain places on freedom of speech was one admirable quality that resonated throughout the programme.
The eye-opening experience provided a chance to reflect on my past activities and what it has meant. The new links formed and lasting impressions from this experience will help me make at least a small but meaningful contribution towards the betterment of people’s lives and society to the best of my ability.
The FILP programme will be held 3 more times this year for participants from other nations.