Empowering Change For A Better Future
Inspirational Change leader
Paetongtarn Shinawatra

In Thailand’s political landscape, few women command as much attention as Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the dynamic leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party and the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Chulalongkorn University and a master’s degree in International Hotel Management from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom. Currently, she is poised to participate in a national defense program at the National Defence College, a platform esteemed for connecting individuals with influential figures in politics and businesses.

Ms Paetongtarn’s journey into politics began with her appointment as chair of Pheu Thai’s advisory committee on political participation and innovation in 2021. Reflecting on her upbringing, she cited her early exposure to politics which instilled in her a sense of familiarity.

“I feel like politics isn’t entirely new to me because when I was eight years old, my dad started his own political party. I had the opportunity to attend several meetings with him and meet many people, ‘big name’ people,” Ms Paetongtarn said.

“So I think that politics is not something very far from me and I hope that I can be some, some small part to make change, to have something that can change the country or just make the country a better place,” Ms Paetongtarn said.

March 20, 2022, marked a significant milestone in her political career as she assumed leadership of the “Pheu Thai Family”, a move strategically positioning her for the subsequent national election. Her ascent continued as she emerged as one of the party’s prime ministerial candidates, solidifying her status as a formidable political force.

After the election, when Cholnan Srikaew, the former party leader, resigned, Ms Paetongtarn emerged as the obvious choice for the top position. In the Pheu Thai-led coalition, she is now seen as one of the most powerful female figures.

While some critics attribute her rise to her father’s influence, Ms Paetongtarn remains undeterred, emphasising her commitment to effecting societal change rather than seeking personal gain.

Some critics say her father’s political influence is behind her being appointed as the ruling party’s leader, paving the way for her to become a prime minister in the future.

“It’s just normal. It’s like you have to breathe it in, but actually it cannot define anything about me. Why would I care about those comments, all this kind of stuff? They just make me stronger and feel better about myself,” Ms Paetongtarn said.

“The very first day I entered politics, I didn’t ask for any position or role in the party. I simply hoped that I could do something to bring about change. I believe I’ve stayed in politics for so long because of that.”

Ms Paetongtarn is also chair of the national committee on soft power development, which is tasked with pushing to make Thailand’s soft power in 11 areas recognised at the global level. These include fashion, books, films, TV series, festivals, gastronomy, design, tourism, games, music, arts and sports.

“Our responsibility is to enable the country and its people to monetise their talents. Therefore, the soft power policy represents a new approach with the potential to profoundly impact and improve people’s lives. However, we must also focus on educating the public about its significance,” she said.

Amid speculation about her potential future as prime minister, she will persist in gaining the work experience and political charisma she, to a certain degree, inherited from her father.

Regardless of whether such speculation proves true or not, Ms Paetongtarn is an ambitious woman who inspires many with her efforts to overcome numerous political challenges.

“ When the election came, she was named one of the party’s three prime ministerial candidates along with Srettha Thavisin, the current prime minister. ”
Wallaya Chirathivat
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Thippaporn Ahriyavraromp
Corporate Sustainability & Social Responsibility Leader