Institute for Southern Thai Studies Thaksin University
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           The Institute for Southern Thai Studies is affiliated with Thaksin University with its office located at Ao Sai Village, Moo 1, Koh Yo Sub-district, Muaeng District, Songkhla Province.  The project was initiated in 1968 by Professor Sutthiwong Phongphaiboon, while teaching at College of Education Songkhla.  As Head of the Department of Thai Language, his mission was to train students to collect field data of cultural values; as a result, huge information of cultural values have been accumulated in the form of real object such as "samut khoi" (Thai long book made of pulp from trees of the family Uricaceae), audio-tapes, photos, slides and films.  Meanwhile, it is found that valuable indigenous cultural records have been disappearing through times and had to be collected urgently.  Effective storage system of the cultural data has been established.

            In late 1971 the Department of Thai Language has collected data, mostly in manuscripts written in palm leaves and those recorded in audio-cassettes in one room called "Local Southern Literature Hall", a point of departure of the Institute for Southern Thai Studies, where it was finally upgraded to the full status in 2000.

            Progress has been subsequently made in the operations of the Institute.  Realizing the great significance of the cultural resources of the Southern region in economic, social and political development, Professor Sutthiwong Phongphaiboon, as the Director of the Institute, proposed a site where the new complex was to be built.  A suitable site with an initial area of 8.8 acres was found at Koh Yor with the proposal for the construction of the Folklore Museum.  Funding for the construction of the new premises has been approved and the groundbreaking ceremony was presided over on November 7, 1987 by General Prem Tinsulanond, then Prime Minister.  Construction was completed in 1991 and His Majesty had graciously appointed HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to preside over the opening ceremony on September 22, 1991.  Progress has been made to the Institute and it has been recognized by both the people in Thailand and overseas, particularly among the people in the ASEAN region.  In 2000 the Institute received an outstanding award in the category of “cultural tourism attractions and historical site” from the Thailand Tourism Award organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  Later in the year 2005 it was awarded "an outstanding national agency in disseminating honor and pride of Thai people" by the Office for Strengthening National Identity under the Prime Minister’s Office and in 2000 it was awarded outstanding in the category of "Learning Recreational Tourism Attractions” from the 8th Thailand Tourism Award organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  This is a proud part of the Institute, which has served as a center of learning, art and culture of Southern Thailand and as a major cultural tourism attraction of the region.

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