Ph.D., Political Science, 1997
Internationally renowned scholar, educator, and activist Dr. Srisompob Jitpiromsri publishes and lectures extensively on issues related to the separatist conflict in Thailand’s Deep South region. He has emerged as a prominent figure in the peace-building process involving the Buddhist majority and the Malay Muslim minority in the region.
Dr. Jitpiromsri has founded two non-governmental organizations – Deep South Watch (DSW) and the Center for Conflict Studies and Cultural Diversity (CSCD) – that are uniting academia, media, peace activists, and government representatives to address and resolve this violent separatist conflict. In the last 7 years, clashes in Thailand’s southern border provinces have claimed over 12,000 victims, making this area one of the world’s most violent.
What makes Dr. Jitpiromsri an unusual champion in this cause is that, although ethnically a member of the Buddhist majority, he is dedicated to helping the Malay Muslim minority and to eliminating the complex problems fueling the violence. The escalating conflict has resulted in a repetitive pattern of violence and retribution – a pattern that Dr. Jitpiromsri seeks to change through education, collaboration, discourse, and policy formation.
This beloved professor, mentor and scholar has also founded a Master’s program in peace and conflict studies, reformed curricula to promote understanding of peace and cultural diversity issues, and formulated an international doctoral program in Peace and Conflict Studies at his university. He is an unwavering advocate for strengthening the involvement of Muslim women in education and scholarship. As a result, enrollment of Muslim women in political science, photojournalism, and other majors at his university is growing substantially, and they are also providing significant philanthropic support for the Deep South Watch journal and other programs that highlight and encourage female involvement.
Dr. Jitpiromsri is regularly sought out by national and Western media (NPR, PBS and Thai PBS) for interviews and commentary. He is frequently the subject of Western research and collaborates with many international NGOs and aid agencies. He has designed a number of models of public administration to decentralize governmental structures in Thailand’s Deep South and engage all stakeholders in peacefully resolving the region’s conflict. In 2013, he was invited to be part of the Thai government’s team of peace negotiators who are conducting ongoing dialogue with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the liberation movement of Patani Malay Muslims in the Southern provinces.
His publications include: National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Status of Drug and Substance Uses: The South (Office of Narcotics Control Board and Thailand’s Academic Networks for Substance Abuse Research, 2004); “Unpacking Thailand’s Southern Conflict: The Poverty of Structural Explanations,” (Critical Asian Studies, 2006); “A ministry for the south: New governance proposals for Thailand’s Southern region” (with D. McCargo); and “The southern Thai conflict six years on: Insurgency, not just crime,” (with D. McCargo), Contemporary Southeast Asia (2010). His numerous accolades include the 2013 National Research Award from the National Research Council of Thailand, for his assessment on enforcement of emergency decree and performances of the police forces in Thailand's Deep South.
Throughout his career, Dr. Jitpiromsri has been a voice for the oppressed, a champion for human rights, and an advocate for collaboration, education, and equality. The College is pleased to honor this distinguished alumnus for the life-changing work that he carries out each day.