Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra opened the 10th East Asia Pacific Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction (EASEC-10) at the InterContinental Hotel on 3 August 2006. In his speech to the 649 participants from 41 countries and the dignitaries present for the opening, the prime minister underscored the importance of construction in the everyday lives of people in the region.
“My personal belief [is] that infrastructure development could play a crucial role in reducing poverty as the economy grows,” Dr. Thaksin said.
EASEC was originally initiated by the Structural Engineering Program Division at the Asian Institute of Technology in 1986. Celebrating the 20th anniversary year, EASEC returns to Bangkok. EASEC-10 continues through 5 August and was organized by AIT in partnership with four Thai national universities and 28 international and national professional associations in the Asia Pacific region.
The biennial conference is the only forum in the Asia Pacific region where academicians and professionals gather to share knowledge on construction and structural engineering, said Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, chairman of the conference and dean of the School of Engineering and Technology. Prof. Worsak said in his address that future conferences should serve as a “gateway to reach the world.”
AIT President Said Irandoust introduced the prime minister.
“Throughout Dr. Thaksin’s tenure as prime minister, he has consistently kept in mind and stood behind the philosophy of creating a strong foundation on which to build a more stable future for the economy, society and the environment,” Prof. Irandoust said. “All of us are here today for the reason of coming together so that we can build a brighter tomorrow.”
This year is particularly notable for structural engineering and construction in Thailand: Suvarnabhumi Airport, which took 46 years, 31 cabinets and 14 prime ministers to plan and construct, will open officially on 28 September. New projects of highway bridges and underground structures for the Bangkok mass transit system are under planning and construction.
“Much of the growth has been in the urban areas,” Dr. Thaksin said. “There is still a great deal of infrastructure development required in rural areas, which requires the professional services of structural and construction engineers.
“I thus hope that all of you will make full use of this opportunity to exchange views and experiences on the latest technology in structural engineering and construction. Your efforts and joint endeavors will contribute toward the development of safer and better infrastructure for the region.”
When the prime minister concluded his remarks, he ceremonially opened the conference by ringing a gong three times. He then toured the conference’s exhibition hall, which highlights major advancements in civil infrastructure in Thailand.