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Media release

4 July 2008

Australia-Thailand Institute Made Permanent

I am pleased to announce today - here in Bangkok – my decision to make permanent the Australia-Thailand Institute (ATI).

The ATI was established in 2005 for three years to promote relations between Australia and Thailand by facilitating people-to-people links. The operation and effectiveness of the Institute has been reviewed and found to have made an enduring beneficial contribution to the bilateral relationship.

One example of this contribution is that ATI has run an Australia-Thailand interfaith exchange program which has exposed Muslims from Southern Thailand to Australia’s diverse society.

More can be done to take Australia’s relationship with Thailand forward. The Institute’s agenda will be revitalised to reflect the dynamic nature of Australia’s contemporary relationship with Thailand.

I acknowledge publicly the contribution that Tim Fischer has made to the Institute. Mr Fischer has chaired the ATI Executive Committee with great enthusiasm and skill since the Institute was established.

Now, three years on, Mr Fischer has chosen to pass the baton on. Over the coming weeks I will consider the composition of a new Executive Committee to steer the ATI forward.

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