Mr. Thongphakdi was appointed Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs on 1 October 2020. Prior to his appointment, he was Ambassador of Thailand to the United States of America from 2019-2020, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 2017-2019, and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva from 2012-2017. He is a career foreign service officer, having joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1987.
Mr. Thongphakdi has represented the Kingdom in many international meetings. During 2014-2015, he co-chaired the Open-ended Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, responsible for drafting the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. He also chaired the Open-ended Working Group on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations in 2016, which paved the way for the drafting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Prior to his posting in Geneva, Mr. Thongphakdi was Director-General of the Department of Information and Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, having been Deputy Director-General and Deputy Spokesman before that. He has also served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Director for North America, Head of the Policy and Planning Division’s Policy Section and Liaison Officer and Assistant Permanent Representative of Thailand to UNESCAP in Bangkok.
During 2001-2004, he was posted to Washington, DC, as Counsellor and then Minister-Counsellor responsible for political and economic affairs. From 1995-2000, Mr. Thongphakdi was seconded to the Secretariat of the Prime Minister, working as foreign affairs coordinator and speechwriter for the Prime Minister.
In recognition of his services, he has been bestowed the Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant and the Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand.
Mr. Thongphakdi is a graduate of the Australian National University in Canberra, where he received a Combined Bachelor of Economics/Bachelor of Science in 1985. He continued his studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, receiving a Master of Science in Foreign Service with Honors in International Business Diplomacy in 1987.
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