Bangkok Conference Resounding Success!
December 1, 2016
The first Workplace Pride LGBT Business conference in Bangkok was a true milestone in the region with around 100 delegates from many different countries taking part in the event. The conference, which was a side event of the annual ILGA World Summit, took a close look at the situation for LGBT people in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) which included both business and cultural aspects.
Speakers from a number of Thai organizations representing the public, private and governmental sectors outlined the unique challenges to LGBTI inclusion in their country while noting that now is the time to start the dialogue. Their comments were supported by a report from the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) representative, Katri Kivioja who highlighted differences in perceptions and progress in a number of Asian countries regarding LGBT inclusion. Her conclusion was that there is still a great deal of work to do in the region.
Breakout sessions encouraged participants to ‘dig deeper’ into practical applications of LGBT progress and covered topics such as:
- Visibility at Work
- Employee Networks and Straight Allies
- Business Case for LGBTI Inclusion
- Making Change Last
Workplace Pride members operating in the region rallied around this initiative with representatives and support from Clifford Chance, Booking.Com, Elsevier (RELX), Shell and a number of other parties. Tony Tenicela, representing main Sponsor IBM, was a keynote speaker at the event and called for increased cooperation among all parties. Other organizations represented in the official program included the Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Orami Group, Greenpeace Thailand, Krungthai-AXA, and the World Bank. Paul Heymans, Founder of OUTBKK, which is an NGO working locally for LGBT workplace inclusion, cooperated closely with Workplace Pride in realizing the conference.
Closing the busy day was Martin van Buuren, 2nd Secretary of the Dutch Embassy in the Netherlands, which was also a strong supporter of the event.
Workplace Pride’s first foray into Asia showcased the many obstacles that still exist to LGBT workplace inclusion in the region. However, it also very effectively demonstrated that many parties from all sectors and nationalities are willing and ready to work together to create progress.
For more information on the Workplace Pride Business Conference in Bangkok, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Following up on the event, Thai National Patrick Huang, wrote a note about his own experiences at the conference. Click here to read
Foundation Chair Mark Emdin moderates the panel of Thai specialists repressing 4 different sectors
Keynote speakers, Paul Overdijk, Katri Kivioja and Toni Tenicela (IBM)
Martin van Buuren of the Dutch Embassy addresses the gathering while workshop participants ‘dig deeper’