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The first SPAFA Regional Centre Director, Professor Subhadharadis Diskul was appointed in July 1987. Immediately after the appointment he took courtesy missions to SPAFA member countries, where he met with officials concerned with the newly reconstituted Centre, and discussed with them the possibilities of financial cooperation to fill the shortfalls of funds needed for the implementation of the programmes of activities, as well as the ways of their implementation. The Centre Director also, in his fund raising efforts, contacted the embassies for foreign governments in Bangkok. He met with some success, though not very encouraging in the beginning. Only later, from 1988, financial constraints were relaxed. SPAFA received contributions from Canada, France, Japan and New Zealand for training courses, staff development and technical assistance.

In the meantime, the work for the planning and construction of the SPAFA Regional Centre Head-quarters, and the re-organization of the administrative structure began. Two other main concerns of the Centre Director are the strengthening of the Library and Documentation Services, and the establishment of the scientific research laboratory, since these two components are of vital significance for the information on cultural subject fields of SPAFA competency, and for innovative research techniques required for conservation and management or cultural heritage.

The library and Documentation Centre already formed an integral part of the Regional Project, but for many years suffered from shortage of space, personnel, and budget. However, the library managed to document and publish promotion materials, proceedings of the workshop seminars, and issue a journal entitled SPAFA Digest. The scientific research laboratory is a new concept and needed to be conceptualized.

For the planning and construction of the building, as well as the structure of the organization, and the monitoring of programmes of activities implementation, SPAFA received technical cooperation from Silpakorn University which graciously seconded Associate Professor Kamthorn Kulachol to undertake these responsibilities. For the Library and Documentation Services, the position for the Library and Documentation Services Officer had been vacant for two years, despite repeated newspaper advertisements, screenings and tests, due to the high qualifications essentially required for the job. Finally the Centre was able to secure temporary services from Professor Khunying Maenmas Chavalit, who is renowned for her experience in the field of library science and documentation. As for the scientific research laboratory, Dr. O. P. Aggrawal, Director-General of the INTACH Indian Conservation Institute, who is well known worldwide for his expertise in conservation of cultural materials, agreed to act as advisor in the formulation of the project and the project proposal for funding assistance.

The construction of the building was completed in September 1992. The Royal Thai Government did not include budget for the purchasing of furniture, air conditioners and necessary equipment to make the building functional and operational. However, many benefactors in Thailand who appreciate SPAFA's contribution towards the promotion of cultural heritage, have generously donated cash and kind.

By the end of May the beautiful six story building will be almost enirely air-conditioned and carpeted. Its library on the first an dseond floor is modernly furnished. Computer systems have been installed for automated technical services and in-house desk-top publishing activities. The class rooms on the fourth floor, are ready to be used for training. Similarly the rooms on the fourth floor designed as a research laboratory, is well equipped with essential laboratory tools. Heartfelt thanks go to the Royal Thai Government for funding the construction of the building, and to all Thai benefactors who furnished it and made it operational.

In pondering efforts to develop the New Regional centre to meet requirements for its new status, one of the policies decided by the Centre Director is to make the Centre an effective centre for information services, as stated in the SPAFA objectives. The limited budget prevents the purchasing of books and other information materials in subject fields of SPAFA interest. Books and scholarly journals on archaeology and fine arts are very expensive (emphasis ours). Research reports and proceedings of seminar and workshops are difficult to obtain; produced by academic institutions and organizations, in general, they cannot be purchased through conventional bookstores. Measures undertaken to strengthen the collection, therefore, are to build contacts with those institutions for exchange of publications, to approach the governments and organizations for donations. SPAFA's requests were met with good response. We received, for example, from the French Government a large collection of research documents on Indochina countries by outstanding French scholars and historians. The Centre Director himself, to ensure that the SPAFA Library is one of the best reference libraries in Thailand on Southeast Asian archaeology and arts, loaned his own valuable and rare collection to the library, on more or less, permanent basis.

The fiscal year 1991/1992 marks the end of the SPAFA Regional Centre's First 5-year Plan, July 1987-June 1992. During the first five years, SPAFA has completed the construction of the building of its own headquarters, the re-organization of its administrative infrastructure, the strengthening of its Library and Documentation Services, the establishment and strengthening of cordial linkages with donor countries, governmental international organizations, agencies and institutions.

As for its programmes of activities, in spite of the financial shortfall, the SPAFA Regional Centre, with the co-operation of member countries who offered to host training course, seminars and workshops, has successfully completed about 90% of the programmes scheduled. Out of 30 training courses, only three were canceled because of monetary shortfall. Six seminars and workshops were planned and successfully completed. In addition, with the financial contribution from the Japan Foundation (now Japan Cultural Centre) two special seminars, were organized. Moreover, SPAFA has cooperated with UNESCO in holding one workshop on the Convention of the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of cultural Property, 1970.

The formulation of the Second Five-Year Plan was executed and submitted to the Special Governing Board Meeting in May 1990 for endorsement. The plan was finally approved by the SEAMEO Council at its meeting in 1991. Since July 1992, the programmes for FY 1992/1993 have been implemented.

All is well when it begins well. This can be applied to SPAFA's historical evolution. In line with its objectives, SPAFA has made attempts to promote cultural solidarity among its member states, with the view to strengthening mutual understanding and co-operation for common goal (emphasis ours). Through its training course, workshops, seminars, researches, information dissemination and personal exchanges, it has been possible to establish firm linkages among artists, archaeologists, scholars and other personnel responsible for cultural administration for cultural and development.

SPAFA's success is due to the following factors, which is hoped to continue:

Taking these factors into consideration, we can be confident of good prospects for SPAFA in the years to come.

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