The ’21–’22 school year begins August 16. Read an update from the Head of School here.
The Hello! Education Special Edition 2020 was published at the end of September of that year. The issue features four of our RIS Alumni—Class of 2000’s Alice (Socialgiver), Class of 2005’s Aim (HUBBA/Techsauce), and Class of 2006’s Earn (Ricult) & Chaya (Carabao)—sharing their RIS experience and how the school contributed to their self-made success stories and inspired them to do work that gives back to society.
The original article appeared in Thai. The following is a loose translation.
Becoming a person of character starts by cultivating essential elements of the learning process. The curriculum and teaching philosophy at Ruamrudee International School has laid the foundation for its success for over 60 years—and counting. The school’s learning principles, the “Principles of Phoenix,” focus on nurturing three main elements—students’ “Heads,” gaining knowledge and developing analytical thinking; “Hands,” building skills by putting the knowledge into action and creating new things; and “Hearts,” caring for themselves and others. Along with its American curriculum and international standards and teachers, RIS has produced many successful alumni.
Covering all aspects of students’ development, Ruamrudee International School is recognized as one of Thailand’s leading international schools. The school nurtures children’s knowledge, skills and abilities, and self-worth, enabling them to grow into capable young people who achieve success in life, such as these four RIS alumni: Earn – Aukrit Unahalekhaka (Class of 2006), Chaya Chansmitmas (Class of 2006), Aim – Amarit Charoenphan (Class of 2005), and Alice – Aliza Napartivaumnuay (Class of 2000).
Earn Aukrit Unahalekhaka (RIS Class of 2006) holds a master’s degree in engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, and is the Co-Founder & CEO (Thailand) at Ricult, an award-winning social start-up focused on agricultural development.
“I came to study at Ruamrudee in grade 8, which is comparable to the second year of Thai high school,” says Earn, the first among the four to share his memories of the school he loves with Hello! Education. “I didn’t feel alienated because, from the first day, I realized that this was a school with a helpful community. RIS also offers strong science and math courses. Because I wanted to study engineering, I found the curriculum to be the right fit. I studied the IB Diploma at the Higher Level, courses that have the same intense content as the first year at a university in the United States. When I graduated from RIS, I was able to continue my studies in America very comfortably and even skip some first-year classes.”
Earn’s close friend Chaya Chansmitmas (RIS Class of 2006) is currently the Head of Team X at the CEO Office of Carabao Tawandang Company Limited. After graduating from RIS, Chaya attended the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Engineering’s Department of Information and Communication before heading off to study for a master’s degree at Harvard Business School. “Here at RIS you are taught how to think—how to organize and sequence your thoughts,” he shares. “You learn about the repercussions of one’s actions in a systematic way. I was shown a foundation for thought that I could use for the rest of my professional life.”
Aim Amarit Charoenphan (RIS Class of 2005) is a Thammasat University alumnus, a member of the Edmund Hillary Foundation (www.ehf.org), and a pioneer in the co-working space business in Thailand. He is the founder of the complete start-up ecosystems HUBBA and Techsauce Media, which provides support to entrepreneurs and innovators in start-up businesses and network and community-building.
“One thing I really enjoyed at RIS is that there is a culture that encourages us to think for ourselves,” he says. “Whatever you want to learn about, you would do your own research. We were taught to believe in ourselves, to apply critical thinking, and to conclude whether our findings were right or wrong, under the guidance of our teachers of course. Most importantly, RIS instilled a sense of self-worth in us from a young age. RIS doesn’t just teach you how to think well but also how to live your life well. Once we acknowledge the value life has, that builds a sense of self-worth and a protective shield that empowers us through every situation of life.”
Alice Aliza Napartivaumnuay (RIS Class of 2000) is a former student of the Faculty of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University and also earned a master’s degree at the University of Warwick, England. She is now the Co-Founder & Head of Partnerships at Socialgiver, a lifestyle platform where you can purchase products and services while supporting charities and causes at the same time.
“I’ve had so many educational experiences at RIS,” shares Alice. “I studied biochemistry while also learning different languages, playing sports, and participating in various types of activities. Our teachers at RIS fully supported us discovering our identity and cultivating our preferences. Ultimately, we graduated with an inspired and formidable student portfolio. In terms of relationships, RIS taught us to appreciate our friends and to be respectful of their roots. It paved the way for us to be open and to listen to others more, to accept our differences, and to be global citizens.”
From having been involved in helping society since childhood, these four alumni understand the joy of sharing and giving back. They have also been inspired and empowered to create businesses that give back to society now, as young working adults. “RIS students and alumni will always be involved in helping society, because the school often organizes various activities to build connections with local groups and communities,” says Aim, whose recent venture was establishing a social enterprise fund called the Impact Collective. “It helped us see that our education was not just about academic excellence or attending a top-notch school. It became part of our DNA to give back and to help others and society.”
“One of the things that inspired me to create Socialgiver was studying at RIS, where we had many opportunities to do all kinds of volunteer work,” said Alice, sharing the inspiration behind her award-winning social business, now in its fifth year. “I had a regular job but would work on Socialgiver whenever I could. In my work, I would analyze the entire supply chain, from upstream to downstream, and could see its impact on businesses, communities, and the environment. We created Socialgiver as a convenient digital platform to allow people to come together to do good deeds and create shared value. It’s a win-win model because we are both the giver and the receiver. We want to promote work in the social sector to be more transparent, effective, and fruitful, and to produce real results.”
“I might be a bit of an unconventional businessman because I didn’t just want to make a profit, I also wanted to make a change in Thai society,” says Earn of Ricult, his award-winning agricultural social enterprise. “I think there should be businesses or organizations to help the people. Agriculture was the most logical sector for me to be involved in because almost 40% of Thai people work in the agricultural industry. I have been running the company for three years now and am generating my target income as well as contributing to farmers improving their productivity and profitability. Currently, we have already helped about 200,000 Thai farmers.”
With their solid educational background and powerful, creative business acumen, these four young executives were selected, along with 200 other Asia-Pacific entrepreneurs, to become members of the first generation of Obama Foundation Leaders. The Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific program, founded and led by former president of the United States Barack Obama, seeks out young community leaders and social innovators who are working within their communities to create change in their respective countries and for the world.
Being an Obama Foundation Leader enables entrepreneurs to continue to study and develop a variety of skills. It will also increase their capabilities and networks, ultimately helping them continue to create positive results in their community, their country, and their part of the world. Members of the foundation include eminent leaders and world-class experts, including Barack and Michelle Obama themselves. Belonging to this program is an achievement of the greatest honor and pride in the professional lives of these four talented alumni. That four of a total of 16 Thai representatives hail from Ruamrudee International School is a testament to the quality of RIS alumni.