Niwat wins Asia Foundation award

On Thursday, October 12, Mekong River defender Niwat Roykaew became the first Thai to receive the Leader on the Frontlines Award from the Asia Foundation, a nonprofit international development organisation based in San Francisco, California.

Niwat Roykaew also known as “Kru Thi”, is the chair of the Chiang Khong Conservation Group and director of Mekong School’s Institute of Local Knowledge.

The award was given for his decades-long efforts to protect the Mekong River and communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on it. He mobilized and led communities and successfully halted destructive blasting and damming projects that threatened the river and its communities.

“I am delighted that the effort to protect the Mekong River has been spread globally. This reward is not for me but it is a bliss for the civil society sector that has been working in natural resource protection for a long time,” Kru Thi said after receiving the award. “I’d like to use this opportunity to spread information and encourage people to be interested in environmental resource protection as this practice does not only belong to one country.”

Learn more about his work to stop the rapids blasting project and protect the Mekong River.