It's a brisk autumn day, all sun and no rain, in the upstate New York town of Ithaca. The leaves are turning and the hilly landscape is alive with a profusion of colour; a good day for a walk. Meandering along tree-lined streets under blue skies, I look forward to meeting a legendary scholar from Cornell's golden age of Southeast Asian studies, an historian who had left before I arrived but whose stellar reputation lingers through books, classroom discussion and reminiscences of his colleagues.
Charnvit Kasetsiri, or Ajarn Charnvit as he is known here, is back at his alma mater for the first time in many years to talk about the seemingly intractable border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, half a world away on the edge of the dry Isan plateau and the Dangrek Range.
We meet in the oak-panelled vastness of the Kahin Center, once the opulent home of a 19th century timber magnate back in the day when the Finger Lakes were bustling waterways linked to the Eire Canal.
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