Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA)

  • Description
  • Mahi­dol University’s inter­est in lin­guis­tics and cul­tural anthro­pol­ogy began with the estab­lish­ment of the Grad­u­ate Study Project in Applied Lin­guis­tics at the Grad­u­ate School fol­low­ing the National Eco­nomic and Social Devel­op­ment Plan No.4. The project leader was Dr. Suriya Ratanakul who trans­ferred from Tham­masat Uni­ver­sity. Later, a meet­ing between Pro­fes­sor Dr. George Con­dom­i­nas from National Research Cen­ter, France, and Pro­fes­sor Dr. Nat Pamorn­prawat, the deputy rec­tor of Pol­icy and Plan­ning Divi­sion, extended the scope to include cul­tural anthro­pol­ogy. As a result, the Cen­ter of Lan­guage and Cul­ture for South­east Asian Stud­ies at the Grad­u­ate School, was estab­lished in 1974. This cen­ter aimed to study and research lin­guis­tics and the cul­tural anthro­pol­ogy of eth­nic groups in Thai­land and else­where in the South­east Asian region for the ben­e­fits of national devel­op­ment. In 1976, the Grad­u­ate Study Project in Lin­guis­tics of South­east Asian Lan­guages was set up which was devel­oped from the pre­vi­ous Grad­u­ate Study Project in Applied Lin­guis­tics. The pur­pose of this project was to orga­nize knowl­edge from research and study to be applied in teach­ing and in the stud­ies of grad­u­ate stu­dents so as pro­duce aca­d­e­mics with an exper­tise in the research method­ol­ogy of lin­guis­tics and cul­tural anthro­pol­ogy of eth­nic groups.

    In 1981, the Research Insti­tute for Lan­guages and Cul­tures of Asia (RILCA) was estab­lished, with a sta­tus equiv­a­lent to a Mahi­dol Uni­ver­sity fac­ulty and Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor Dr. Khun­y­ing Suriya Ratanakul as direc­tor. Its office was located in the for­mer OPD Build­ing, Fac­ulty of Med­i­cine Siri­raj Hos­pi­tal, and was later moved to the 4th Floor of the Micro­bi­ol­ogy Build­ing in 1982, and a year after to Mahi­dol Uni­ver­sity, Salaya Cam­pus. Ini­tially, the office was located in the Soci­ol­ogy and Human­i­ties Build­ing and the Project of South­east Asian Cul­tural Research Cen­ter was later moved to the Museum Build­ing. The Japan­ese gov­ern­ment funded ren­o­va­tions to the Train­ing Cen­ter and Asian Pub­lic Health Devel­op­ment Build­ing in order for this build­ing to be used as an exhi­bi­tion hall for the cul­tural anthro­pol­ogy museum. After the con­struc­tion of Thai house (Rabieb Kunakasem Build­ing) was com­pleted in 1987, the South­east Asian Cul­tural Research Cen­ter was opened there. In 1992, the offices for the museum and soci­ol­ogy sec­tions were moved to the base­ment of the Grad­u­ate School Build­ing. In 1999, they again moved this time to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirind­horn Lan­guage and Cul­ture Build­ing where they are cur­rently located.

    The insti­tu­tional struc­ture can be divided into 2 parts: lin­guis­tics stud­ies and research, and cul­ture stud­ies and research. The first part has been oper­at­ing since the begin­ning, while the sec­ond part was started when the South­east Asian Cul­tural Research Cen­ter was estab­lished in 1985. Its office, which was in Thai house, (Rabieb Kunakasem Build­ing) opened in 1987. The cur­ricu­lum for cul­tural stud­ies in the Master’s Degree pro­gram com­menced in 1989 and has been con­tin­u­ously devel­oped up to the present.

    Since RILCA was estab­lished in 1981, the fol­low­ing have served as directors:

    • 1981 — 1988 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Khun­y­ing Suriya Ratanakul
    • 1988 — 1993 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Poon­pit Amatyakul
    • 1993 — 2001 Prof. Dr. Khun­y­ing Suriya Ratanakul
    • 2001 — 2005 Prof. Dr. Suwilai Premsrirat
    • 2005 — 2009 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sophana Srichampa
    • 2009 — present Assoc.Prof. Duang­porn Kamnoonwatana


    Lan­guage and Cul­ture are key ele­ments in solv­ing prob­lems and devel­op­ing society.


    The Insti­tute pro­motes excel­lence in Asian eth­nic group, lan­guage and cul­ture research and development.


    • Research­ing and devel­op­ing lan­guage and cul­ture for eth­nic minor­ity groups
    • Pro­vid­ing lan­guage, cul­ture and eth­nic studies
    • Pro­vid­ing aca­d­e­mic ser­vices for the sup­port of lan­guage and cul­ture of eth­nic minor­ity groups in Thai­land and beyond
    • Devel­op­ing and pre­serv­ing the lan­guage and cul­ture of eth­nic minor­ity groups in Thai­land and beyond
    • Admin­is­tra­tion lead­ing to excellence


    Phone +66.2800-2308

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