by RONALYN BANAKEN
Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse hammered on the essence of leadership in his speech for the graduates.
Thai luminary Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse graced the University of Baguio baccalaureate rites on Dec. 19. He spoke before the 712 graduates at the UB Gym, pounding on leadership.
Prof. Dr. Chanawongse, Foreign Affairs Advisor of the Association for Economic Cooperation and Trade Promotion between Yunnan and Southeast Asia and South Asia, opened his talk with memories from two decades ago.
“Twenty years ago I was bestowed with an honorary doctoral degree and I have been waiting for the opportunity to express my gratitude,” he said. (He was handed the Honorary PhD in Humanities degree by UB in 1985.)
“[Now I can express my gratitude by paying] respect to the great leadership of Dr. Fernando ‘Tatay’ Bautista, the founder of UB,” he said.
‘Fs of leadership’
Prof. Dr. Chanawongse first touched on what he called the “5 Fs of leadership” – focus, flexibility, fun, and family. “Be aware, be proactive, be decisive. You also have to learn the value of having time for your loved ones,” he said.
He went on to add four more Fs – attributes he said Tatay possessed – fairness, fortitude, firmness, and friendliness. The four characteristics, he said, are imperative in effective leadership.
“Dr. Fernando’s words and actions teach us that a good leader walks the talk, always seeks out opportunities to build more leaders, and has a spirit of international support,” he added.
Prof. Dr. Chanawongse is the founder of Phon Commercial and Technical College in Thailand. In his talk, he shared how he and Tatay worked together during the founding of the College.
“When I was establishing the Phon Commercial and Technical College, I came to Dr. Fernando for advice and cooperation. He was so kind in his fast response in supporting us,” he said, adding, “You can learn from Dr. Fernando’s leadership model so that you will be well-prepared to successfully grasp the opportunities and challenge the obstacles that you will face in your chosen careers and life in general.”
Introducing a concept in leadership, Prof. Dr. Chanawongse then pressed on the “eighty-twenty rule of leadership” – 80 percent of your effectiveness as a leader depends on your competencies; the 20% lies on the knowledge and skills you learned.
“You should especially know and maintain your values,” he added.
Concluding his address, Prof. Dr. Chanawongse hammered on the real essence of leadership: “Leadership is not a position – it is the ability to offer service and the willingness to take action. Before you can effectively lead others, you must be able to effectively lead yourself.”
Prof. Dr. Chanawongse has an impressive track record as an educator and as a public servant. He is the founder of the ASEAN Primary Health Care Training Center at Mahidol University in Thailand.
He was posted as Chief Expert of United Nations Population Fund to Bangladesh and as Technical Advisor for World Health Organization to Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Burma.
In Thailand, he served as Deputy Minister of Public Health; Chairman of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee; Minister of University Affairs; Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Advisor to the Prime Minister.
In 2014, he sat as Vice Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of Thailand.
He was bestowed the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the government of Japan – the highest royal decoration the Emperor of Japan can bestow on a foreigner – for leadership in promoting good relations between Thailand and Japan.
He is a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (the country’s version of the renowned Nobel Peace Prize) for Community Leadership in 1973.
He is currently the chairman of Naresuan University and Panyapiwat Institute of Management, both in Thailand.
UB president Prof. Dhanna Kerina Rodas hands Prof. Dr. Krasae Chanawongse his certificate of appreciation.