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Public Safety and Security Students’ OEL313 Programme to Bangkok

Arrival in Bangkok

A delegation of students from SUSS' Bachelor of Public Safety and Security (PSS) degree programme accompanied by Dr Omer Ali Saifudeen, Dr Pamela Goh, and Ms Veldas have returned from an exhilarating one-week Overseas Experiential Learning (OEL) trip to Bangkok. This educational journey proved to be a remarkable and unforgettable experience for all involved.

The participants were welcomed by their hosts from the Ministry of Justice (Thailand) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), including Mr Prawut Wongseenin, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice (Thailand) who was on hand to receive them and gave an opening speech. This was followed by a presentation by the acting Director of Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime, Department of Special Investigations, Mr Somreok Tangkharawakun. After his talk, he mentioned future discussions on a possible MOU with SUSS and collaborations which involve visiting their new DSI Training Academy and the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok which they are coordinating with the United States (US) Department of State. This warm reception set the stage for an enlightening exploration of the diverse facets of Thailand's public safety and security landscape.

Group photo at the Ministry of Justice building

Similarly, Mr Nitipan Prachuabmoh, the Deputy Secretary General of the highest enforcement body on corruption in Thailand, the Office of The National Anti-Corruption Commission (ONACC) was there to receive the participants at the Anti-Corruption Institute. Their researchers engaged the SUSS students in a lively discussion to learn more about them and the SUSS programmes.

SUSS at the NACC National Anti-Corruption Institute Presentation

The visit encompassed a range of engagements, including insightful interactions with various government departments. Dr Omer and the PSS students gained firsthand knowledge and understanding of the Thai government's approach to public safety and security. The students were exposed to the intricacies of policy-making, law enforcement, and justice administration through informative sessions and engaging discussions.

The list of Thai Government Departments they visited is as follows:

  1. Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime, Department of Special Investigations (DSI)
  2. Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection (DJOP)
  3. Department of Probation
  4. Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB)
  5. Sanya Dharmasakti Anti-Corruption Institute (SDI) (Office of The National Anti-Corruption Commission (ONACC)

SUSS students at the ONCB presentation

Students at the National Anti-Corruption Commission Thailand

Token of appreciation presented to Pol.Lt.Col. Prawut Wongseenin, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Justice

The learning journey proved to be an eye-opening experience, as the participants delved into the inner workings of Thailand's public safety and security systems. From visiting key government departments to witnessing the implementation of effective policies, every moment of the trip offered valuable insights into the challenges and successes of maintaining public safety and security in a diverse society.

UNODC also featured a line-up of distinguished speakers. Among them, Mr Joshua James held a prominent position as the regional programme coordinator of cybercrime and he was able to share complex concepts in a relatable and engaging manner that resonated with the students. Overall, the students were exposed to regional security experts from the UNODC on the following topics:

  1. Human Trafficking
  2. Anti-Money Laundering
  3. Drug Trafficking and Precursor Controls
  4. Wildlife and Forest Crime
  5. Cybercrime
  6. Anti-Corruption
  7. Conflict in Southern Thailand and Counter-Terrorism Challenges in South East Asia
  8. Maritime Crime and Piracy in South East Asia

At Chulalongkorn University, they were treated to a museum tour by student guides about the rich history of the museum and talks by two of their faculty members. From a conversation with one of the speakers on Southern Thailand, Mr Don Pathan, Dr Omer realised that there are many institutes of higher learning in Thailand that SUSS can tap into for collaboration in the future.

Group photo at Chulalongkorn University

SUSS students sharing at Chulalongkorn University Presentation

Finally, during the closing of the academic portion of the programme, the SUSS students gave an insightful sharing and produced a memorable video montage which captured the essence of the student’s experience.

Dr Omer said, “I really can’t put into words how proud I am of our PSS students. It was very heartening to see them finally rise to the occasion even though they were exposed to new concepts and learnings for the first time and how they eventually applied themselves in sharing meaningful reflections and engagements with seasoned security professionals. This took some level of maturity.”

The closing ceremony for OEL313

The immersive OEL program not only broadened the horizons of the PSS students but also fostered a sense of cultural appreciation and international collaboration. There were opportunistic visits to the Thai Air Force Museum and a whole host of historical sites that ingrained in them an appreciation of our neighbours' rich cultural heritage and achievements. Experiencing the vibrant culture and warm hospitality of Bangkok, the participants were able to forge meaningful connections with their counterparts from Thailand. Such interactions not only enhance cultural understanding but also pave the way for future collaborations in the field of public safety and security.

Some of our SUSS students at the air force museum

Group photo at Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Chong Yan Ning, a Year 2 PSS student, reflected on her experience, “Being part of the Bangkok OE programme offered me deeper insights into different PSS topics. The information and personal stories shared by programme officers of the UNODC, Thailand government officials and professors from Chulalongkorn University were valuable for my learning. It was a privilege to visit government agencies like the Ministry of Justice building which gave me rare access to learn from speakers within government-protected compounds.”

Radin Noorayuni, another Year 2 PSS student, also recounted, “One of the best experiences I had was the impromptu visits and decisions I made throughout the trip. On the first day, our professor invited us to an unplanned visit to the air force museum and I learned more about the planes and the history behind them. Additionally, during the closing ceremony, I made a bold decision to facilitate the entire event. As stressful as it was, it was still a very fulfilling moment for me as I had the opportunity to interact with the guests and students.”

Dr Omer expressed his gratitude towards the Ministry of Justice (Thailand) and the UNODC for their exceptional support and organisation of this enlightening OEL trip. He emphasised the immense value of such experiential learning opportunities in nurturing well-rounded professionals in the field of public safety and security.

The participants were also grateful to Mr Alexander Lim, a Political Counsellor from the Singapore Embassy in Bangkok, who served as the Guest of Honour during the closing ceremony. Mr Lim’s down-to-earth nature and willingness to share candid insights about his work as an MFA officer and his career in the MFA were highly appreciated. This created an exceptional connection with our students, who were so engaged that they kept him back for a considerable amount of time after the event to gain further knowledge about diplomatic work. We would also like to extend a special thanks to Wendy, the SUSS Thai Country Manager, who graciously delivered a timely talk on Thai culture and provided valuable tips on interacting with the locals for our students.

As the participants return to their academic pursuits, the memories of this unforgettable OEL trip to Bangkok will continue to inspire their studies and future endeavours. The insights gained and the connections formed during this journey will undoubtedly contribute to their growth as professionals dedicated to ensuring public safety and security.

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