A very unusual princess visited Brigham Young University on Tuesday to receive a presidential citation.
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand spoke to students and faculty members in the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies after BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland gave her the citation, which was presented for her efforts in promoting public health and nutrition.What makes the princess extraordinary is that she is also a professor. She earned a doctorate in organic chemistry at Marhidol University in Thailand in 1985, and she has applied her knowledge to health and hunger problems in her country.
"Her Royal Highness' research interests reflect her dedication to preserve Thailand's traditions and to improving the quality of life and self-sufficiency of the people of rural Thailand," Holland said.
Chulabhorn's interests center on chemistry, the pharmacology of plants found in her country and modern methods of food preservation. She said Tuesday that science and technology are being used in Thailand to maximize food production through the use of higher quality seeds and pesticides.
The princess' father, King Bhumibol, is also interested in better food production, and he is working on reconditioning the country's swamp land for agricultural use. Protein deficiency is a problem for the people of Thailand.
Chulabhorn said it is important for her country to maintain its natural resources. The country must concentrate on its most important goals in research and technology, because its limited resources prevent simultaneous work in every important area.
Studying natural products and medicine are among those top priorities, she said. It is also important to investigate environmental science as it impacts public health.
The princess has a strong background to support her studies. She has honorary doctorates from universities in Thailand, Japan and Korea. She has been a guest professor at Ulm University in Germany and the Tokyo University of Agriculture in Japan.
She was honored in 1979 with the Professor Dr. Tab Nilanidhi Foundation Prize for outstanding results in chemistry throughout her bachelor's degree course at Kasetsart University.