Remarks by Steven Majors, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, at the Kwai River Christian Hospital Cornerstone Laying Ceremony

Monday, July 2, 2018
USAID Program Office Director Steven Majors, second from right, lays flowers on the cornerstone for a new hospital in Sangkhlaburi.
USAID Program Office Director Steven Majors, second from right, lays flowers on the cornerstone for a new hospital in Sangkhlaburi.
Richard Nyberg, USAID

It is my privilege to be with you all today on behalf of the American Embassy and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, to celebrate this important milestone in the creation of a new, state-of-the-art Kwai River Christian Hospital.

I am especially honored to join you today representing the significant contribution from the American People: a $500,000 grant made possible by USAID to the hospital’s growth and development.

I am happy to note that this is not the first grant from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program to the Church of Christ in Thailand Foundation. In fact, for the past four decades USAID/ASHA has supported many innovations at Payap University through the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. To date, that group has leveraged more than $11 million for Payap, and I am proud to remind us today of this enduring partnership with Thailand.

To me, it’s really special that, with the help of this USAID grant, we are laying the cornerstone for this new hospital this year – 2018 – an auspicious year in which we celebrate 200 years of Thai-U.S. friendship. For America’s short history, 200 years is a long, long time – making Thailand one of our oldest friends.

As Americans, my fellow citizens and I are also marking 2018 to especially remember the life and legacy of America’s great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was 50 years ago this year that Dr. King was assassinated in my home town of Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King’s life was cut short because he dared to dream about a place in which all people, regardless of their color or ethnicity or where they came from, would be treated with respect and fairness, and with the human dignity bestowed by their creator.

While we all continue to strive for a world that fully realizes his dream, reflecting on his legacy, I have a feeling Dr. King would be quite proud with what you have already created here, and with the dream that you have for this very site.

Before joining you today, I had the opportunity to learn a little bit about your dream; about the five decades since American missionaries founded their first clinic in Hoy Malai, which eventually became the first Kwai River Christian Hospital; and about the incredible work done in your current hospital, including: 

  • the state of the art surgeries you’ve performed;
  • the research and knowledge you’ve used to treat and prevent diseases in partnership with the U.S Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science;
  • the healthy, happy lives you’ve brought into this world;
  • and, perhaps most importantly, your dedicated service to the most vulnerable of society, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

I’m reminded of something that Dr. King observed: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?’” And you are doing a lot.

How fitting then, and what an honor it is for me, to be here representing the American people as we celebrate 200 years of friendship; 50 years of Dr. King’s legacy; and this, the beginning of a dream that will serve, with love and inclusiveness, all members of the community for years to come.

On behalf of Ambassador Davies and the American people, I want to thank you for inviting me to celebrate with you today.  And I thank you for inviting the American people to be part of your dream.

See more photos of the ceremony here.

Sangkhlaburi, Thailand
Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 18, 2018

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