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King of Thailand - Bhumibol Adulyadej - Part 3

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Royal Projects

Bhumibol has been involved in many social and economic development projects, although the nature of his involvement has varied by political regime.


The military regime of Plaek Pibulsonggram (1951-1957) suppressed the monarchy; however, during that period Bhumibol managed to initiate a few projects using his own personal funds. These projects included the Royal Film and Radio Broadcasting Projects to help recover the palace's image.


In the military regime of Sarit Dhanarajata and his successors (1958-1980), Bhumibol was reportrayed as the "Development King," and appropriated to the economic and political goals of the regime. Royally-initiated projects were implemented under the financial and political support of the government, including projects in rural areas and communities under the influence of the Communist Party of Thailand. Bhumibol's visits to these projects were heavily promoted by the Sarit government and broadcast on the state-controlled media.


During the civilian governments of General Prem Tinsulanond (1981-1987), the relationship between the Thai state and the monarch was at its closest. Prem, later to become President of Bhumibol's Privy Council, officially allocated government budgets and manpower to support royal projects. Most activities in this period involved the development of large scale irrigation projects.


During the modern period (post-1988), the structured development of the Royal Projects reached its apex. Bhumibol's Chaipattana Foundation was established, promoting the self-sufficient economy theory, an alternative to the export-oriented policies adopted by the period's elected governments.



In May 2006, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, presented the United Nations' first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to Bhumibol.


Bhumibol is a recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain, a personal award of the British Monarch.


Bhumibol, who serves as head of The National Scout Organization of Thailand, was presented the Bronze Wolf award on June 20, 2006, World Organization of the Scout Movement's highest award, for his support and development of Scouting in Thailand by Carl XVI Gustav, King of Sweden and Honourary President of the World Scout Foundation. The presentation took place at Chitralada Palace in Thailand and was witnessed by Chairman of the World Scout Committee Herman Hui.


Bhumibol set a world record for receiving the greatest number of honorary university degrees (136) in 1997. Most of his degrees came from Thai universities: for instance, Kasetsart University awarded him ten honorary doctoral degrees at once.


60th Anniversary celebrations

Also called the Diamond Jubilee, the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty the King's Accession to the Throne were a series of events marking Bhumibol's reign. Events included the royal barge procession on the Chao Phraya River, fireworks displays, art exhibitions, pardoning 25,000 prisoners, concerts and dance performances. Tied in with the anniversary, on May 26, 2006 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented Bhumibol with the United Nations Development Programme's first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award. National holidays were on June 9 and June 12

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