Senior Program Officer, Thailand

Dr. Rattana Lao is a senior program officer for The Asia Foundation in Thailand. She manages programs related to education, inequality and the Advanced Middle-Income Trap. In 2018, she oversaw the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program on Critical Thinking in ASEAN Classrooms, administered by The Asia Foundation. She has formed a vibrant research team to conduct research under the title Understanding Isan Inequality: Myths and Reality to understand more deeply the intricate relationship between economic, education, health and political inequalities in the Northeastern part of Thailand. Rattana also serves as a lead researcher on an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade project to address educational reform challenges in light of the Advanced Middle-Income Trap.

She has published widely on education reform in Thailand. Prior to joining the Asia Foundation, Rattana was head of the Thai Studies International Programs at Pridi Panomyoung International College, Thammasat University, and a post-doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. She has worked on youth and education programs with the Kenan Institute Asia, HEAD Foundation of Singapore, International Labour Organization, the World Bank, the Open Society Foundation and the European Commission.

Education: Dr. Lao holds a doctoral degree in Comparative and International Education (Political Science) from Columbia University; a master’s degree in Educational and Social Research from the UCL Institute of Education; master’s degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science; and a bachelor’s degree in British and American Studies from Thammasat University.