Faculty & Staff

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Faculty Members

Rev. John W. Butt

(Associated Faculty; Founder of the Institute of Religion, Culture, and Peace)

Reverend John Butt first came to Thailand in 1963 after completing a Master’s degree in Theology at Harvard University. He taught in Chiang Mai for three years prior to returning to Harvard University to pursue additional degrees in the comparative study of religion, especially Buddhism and Christianity.  He had an opportunity to come back to Chiang Mai in 1984, after teaching comparative religion for 7 years at Macalester College in MN (USA).   John has served in Chiang Mai as a local pastor, church district worker, seminary and university professor, and as founding director of Payap University’s Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture (now the Institute for Religion, Culture and Peace).  Reverend Butt retired in 2007, but has continued to serve as a Senior Advisor and teacher at the Institute.

Dr. Le Ngoc Bich Ly

(Core Faculty, Head of Department of Peace Studies)

Dr. Le Ngoc Bich Ly is the head of the International PhD program in Peacebuilding at Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. She teaches courses related to religion, gender, and peacebuilding. She also coordinates interfaith activities and public presentations at the university. Ly earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Can Tho University, Vietnam in 2004, and Master of Divinity from Payap University in 2011. She received her Ph.D. degree in Inter-Religious Studies from the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies in Indonesia in 2017. Her research focuses on gender issues in religion, interfaith dialogue, and peacebuilding.

Dr. Somboon Panyakhom

(Emeritus Lecturer)

Research interests: Social Entrepreneurship.  Dr. Somboon has a PhD in Social Sciences from Queensland, Australia.  His PhD dissertation was about petty corruption in Thailand.  He retired in 2020, and continues to be very active with social entrepreneurship in Myanmar and Thailand, particularly among the Karen people.

Ast. Prof. Suchart Setthamalinee

(Emeritus Lecturer)

Suchart Setthamalinee is the former head of the Department of Peacebuilding at Payap University. He has a MA and PhD in Sociology from University of Hawai’i  and specializes in Muslim studies, having written several books on the subject.

payap peace staff

Dr. Mark Tamthai

(Core Faculty, Founder of the Ph.D. Academic Program in Peace Studies)

Dr. Tamthai is the former head of the Philosophy Department at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and the former director of the Institute of Religion, Culture and Peace at Payap University, Thailand.  He has taught and written in the fields of Philosophy of Science, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, and Peace-Conflict Studies.  Some of his papers are “Democracy with a Heart”, “The Democratic-Peace Hypothesis and building a Culture of Peace in Southeast Asia”, “Citizenship and the struggle for rights in fledgling democracies”, “The Philosophical and Cultural Dimension of Peacebuilding”, and most recently, “Weaving Patani’s dream non-violently.” He is the former president of the Philosophy and Religion Society of Thailand, was a member of Thailand’s National Reconciliation Commission, and headed the government’s peace talk team with the Patani Movement in Southern Thailand.

Dr Abellia Anggi Wardani

(Core Faculty)

Ph.D. in Culture Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

M.A. in Management of Cultural Diversity, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Research interests: (everyday) peacebuilding, economy of peace, traditional market, livelihoods in crisis setting, post-conflict society, language and peacebuilding, refugees, in Indonesia, Myanmar and Bangladesh

Dr. Abellia Anggi Wardani holds a PhD in Culture Studies and MA in Management of Cultural Diversity from Tilburg University, The Netherlands. She graduated from a dual bachelor’s degree in French Studies, Universitas Indonesia, and Management of Tourism, Université d’Angers, France. Her doctoral thesis investigated the intertwined relationships between marketplace and peacebuilding process, the case of Ambon conflicts, Indonesia. She is currently a Research Director at Knowledge Hub Myanmar (KHM) in which she oversees research projects especially on topics related to livelihoods and post-conflict society, with special interest in exploring the link between economic exchange, peacebuilding, ethnography, and language. Prior to joining KHM, she has been working in the field of peacebuilding and conflict management for more than five years, overseeing projects such as promoting dialogue and mediation in conflict-prone regions in eastern Indonesia. Currently she
is principal investigator for “Exploring Community Perceptions and Coping Strategies on Violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar” funded by Creating Safer Space project.

Dr R.Ty

(Core Faculty; Project Leader of Several Religion, Culture, and Peace Lab Programs)

R.Ty is a faculty member of the Department of Peace Studies as well as the Project Leader, starting March 16, 2022, of several programs of the Religion, Culture, and Peace Lab (RCPL), both of which are at Payap University in Thailand. He teaches Ph.D. level courses, including “Cultural Dimensions of Peacebuilding,” “Research Methodology,” “Political Science and Peacebuilding.” He is also occasionally guest lecturer in “Gender and Peacebuilding” and “Religion and Peacebuilding.”

He is the project leader of “Peace Studies Present,” “Peer Mentoring Program,” “Interfaith Pilgrimage to Different Places of Workship,” “Storytelling as a Tool of Peacebuilding,” and “Creativity, Resilience, and Peacebuilding,” He is the initiator, chair, and implementor of the “Annual International Conference on Religion, Culture, Peace, and Education.”

His peer-reviewed academic publications on climate change, environmental action, gender, human rights, interfaith peacebuilding, migrant labor, postcolonialism, refugees, statelessness, and other issues are indexed in Academia | BASE | ERIC | Google Book Chapter on Post-Covid-19 Pandemic Futures | Google Book Chapter on Violent Extremism | Google Scholar| ORCID | Sci-Hub | Scopus| Semantic Scholar | WorldCat.

His News and Features articles are available at Global South Development Magazine | Peace Insights| Rappler (the Editor-in-Chief was the 2021 Nobel Peace Laureate).

Dr. Ty received his Master’s degree in Asian Studies (Political Science) from the University of California at Berkeley. His Master’s thesis, which focused on peace and security, dealt with the nuclear arms development program of China.

Pursuing additional studies, he received his second Master’s degree in Political Science (Comparative Politics, Political Theory, International Relations, Southeast Asian Politics) and doctorate degree in Education (adult and higher education administration; public policy; human resource development; community development; social movement) from Northern Illinois University.

His second Master’s degree research and publication dealt with (1) the quantitative longitudinal 33-year nonlinear multiple regression statistical hypothetical testing of the theoretical and empirical relationship between economic development and human rights and (2) the qualitative research about the human rights debate in Southeast Asia, both of which were published in academic journals.

His doctoral dissertation focused on human rights, social justice, peace, the state, civil society, and non-governmental organizations. For the Ph.D. in Peace Studies, he teaches Research Methodology, Human Rights and Peacebuilding, and Cultural Dimensions of Peacebuilding. In the U.S., he has taught Political Science courses (International Relations, International Political Economy, American Politics) and Education (International Education, Research Methodology).

He has completed his human rights internship at the Directorate of Human Rights of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. He has completed a research project on the relationship among human rights, the laws of war, and international humanitarian law at an international organization in Geneva, Switzerland. He has completed a Human Rights Field Officer training program organized by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Confederation of Switzerland. As a member of different international NGOs with consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, he has been engaged in advocacy before the United Nations offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.; Vienna, Austria; Geneva, Switzerland; and Bangkok, Thailand. He has taught European-wide teachers and teachers all over the world in summer schools in Bossey, Switzerland that a U.N. funded INGO with consultative status with the U.N. over the years. He was part of an international team that gave advice to the Parliament of Nepal when it transformed from absolute monarchy to democracy. In a United Nations organized training program, he has trained judges, police, media, and civil society in Kathmandu, Nepal.

For research, teaching, paper presentations, lectures, publication, and fact-finding missions, he has traveled to Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan,Vietnam), Middle East (Bahrain, U.A.E.) Latin America (Brazil, Chile), Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine, U.K.), and North America (Canada, U.S.A.). He has prepared reports submitted in person to the United Nations.

As a project leader, he coordinates some extra-curricular non-formal and informal educational activities of the Religion, Culture, and Peace Lab (RCPL). He initiated the Peace Studies Present, the Peer Mentoring Program, and the Annual International Conference on Religion, Culture, Peace, and Education.

Aside from English, Dr. R.Ty speaks Mandarin (Chinese), Fujianhua (Chinese), Tagalog (Filipino), French, Spanish, basic Indonesia, and minimalist-survival Thai.

Dr. Tony Waters

(Associated Faculty)

From July 2017 to March 15, 2022, Tony Waters was Director of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Peace and Lecturer in Peace Studies at Payap University, Thailand. He is also Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico, since 1998.  He previously worked in Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1980-1982), and later worked in refugee camps in Thailand and Tanzania.  He has written books about humanitarian relief operations, classical social theory, and criminology.

He has a PhD degree in Sociology from the University of California, Davis (1995).

Many of his publications are available at his Academia.edu account at https://payap.academia.edu/TonyWaters

RCPL Staff

Mrs. Tannipa Poungjukta

Mrs Tannipa Poungjukta is the Office Manager for the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Peace, and the Department of Peace Studies.  She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology from the MacGillivary School of Divinity at Payap University.