intervew with

Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon

by Hans Hahne

BAHS-Graduate became foreign minster of Thailand

Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon, former minster of foreign affairs for Thailand

After he was foreign minister, UCLA reached out all the way across the world to ask him to teach there, said Suphamongkhon, who also attended UCLA as an undergraduate.


Kantathi studied International Law with a scholarship in the USA. His academic career was subsequently: 1976 Bachelor at the University of California, Los Angeles 1978 Master at American University…


Born: 3. April 1952, Bangkok, Thailand

Education: American University, University of California, University of Southern California, Bonn American High School Previous Positions: Member of House of Representatives of Thailand (2001-2002), 



  • Thai Royal Decoration: Knight Grand Cordon of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant
  • El Sol del Peru: conferred on behalf of the President of Peru in October 2005


By Hans Hahne

I met Kanthati, or Kan as his closer friends and classmates call him, in 1967 when we were both sophomores at the Bonn American High School.

We were friends and as the years went by, we got to know each other and meet intermittently, enjoying dinners with Kan and his wife as well as my partner, Petra, and my brother, Christian.


So when Jürgen asked me to interview Kan for the BAHS Alumni website, I was only too pleased to take up the mission.


What an interesting person Kan is and what a fascinating career he has had! Kan works hard, travels a lot and finds time to enjoy a fulfilling private life. His pride and joy are his wife and daughter, both of whom light his eyes when he speaks of them.


The interview itself was good and very open; Kan’s background is diplomacy, so I was somewhat surprised by the close openness of his answers. We were able to do the interview via Facetime, and I think we both had a very good time talking about and discussing the questions of the interview.


But see for yourself………


By the way, I was so much looking forward to seeing you all at the All Bonn American High School Reunion in July 2020. Unfortunately it had to be canceled out of concern for everyone’s safety.


Keep well, everyone !



interview with Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon

1969 until the mid-70s in Bonn

The interview was conducted  a few months ago, before we learned about COVID-19.

BAHS: If you could meet a famous person - whether alive or dead - who would it be and why?

KAN: At some point as a student I began to feel some sympathy for persons who had fallen from grace. I wrote to former US president Richard Nixon, whom I was able to visit and talk with shortly after his resignation as US president. Nixon in one of our visits suggested I become a diplomat, an occupation that my own father had discouraged me from. Nixon and I kept in touch and I did indeed go into the diplomatic service of my country, Thailand.

I also had the chance to meet Vladimir Putin, whom I do not support, but who impressed me with his intelligence and strategic mind.

A meeting with Tony Blair was very enlightening, as was a meeting with the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, who is now 93 years old.

BAHS: Which three things in your life are you most thankful for?

KAN: I have a three part answer to this question:

  1. Happiness depends on an attitude you have to what happens to you. From a young age on I have not let “things” hold me hostage to happiness.

  2. I want to continue to study and maximize my knowledge.

  3. It has been a great privilege to serve Thailand.

BAHS: If you could change one thing in the world: What would that be?

KAN: I am concerned and would like to see a more concerted effort by world governments to protect the environment, notably against airbourne pollution. The international community should attempt to work together more. German automobile companies sending diesel cars to developing nations, for example, does not help matters.

BAHS: What was the best decision in your professional career?

KAN: My best career decision was deciding on working in diplomacy and then working for Thailand – highlights were becoming Thailand’s United Nations representative and later Thailand’s Foreign Minister.

BAHS: If you were a food: what would it be?

KAN: I love well preoared food from different countries. Through my travels I have found many, Taking Germany as an example, I like a variety of sausages, Wiener Schnitzel, “Rotkohl,” Spätzle, and particularly, red currant juice (Johannisbeersaft), which is difficult to buy outside of Germany.

BAHS: To which question have you had no answer lately and have you been able to find it?

KAN: I would like to know what happens after we die.

BAHS: How often each day do you look at your mobil phone?

KAN: I try to limit the amount of time I look at my mobile phone. Obviously it is a necessary tool but I like to limit the use of it.

BAHS: What would you do if you had an infinite amount of money?

KAN: I would do exactly what I am doing now !

BAHS: What job did your parents imagine for you?

KAN: My parents wanted me to pursue a medical career, which I began in terms of my studies. My father wanted me to be a surgeon, but I quickly became fascinated with diplomacy.

BAHS: What will be your next project?

KAN: I am working with think tanks more often, notably with the Rand Corporation. I keep track of the family real estate business and would like to write a book.

BAHS: What was the nicest compliment someone ever gave you?

KAN: My greatest compliments arise when people take my advice on matters and act on my thoughts about issues.

BAHS: What could you not do without in your life?

KAN: I could not do without personal integrity and good principles of living.

BAHS: What was your favorite school subject in the past?

KAN: My favorite subjects in school were science and biology.

BAHS: If your life was filmed, which actor would play your role?

KAN: I don’t know who would have the role of Kanthati ? Good question to think about.

BAHS: If you could choose a country: which one would you like to live in?

KAN: I like where I live. My favorite places are Bangkok, Los Angeles, London and of course, Bonn !

BAHS: What would you get up for in the middle of the night?

KAN: I would arise in the night most of all to protect my family and myself.

BAHS: Which decision in your life would you want to undo afterwards?

KAN: I would always use seat belts when driving. I ignored this often as a young person. Thankfully most places require their use now.

BAHS: What do you enjoy most about your job?

KAN: I am happy as a diplomat working for Thailand to think deeply about world problems and interact with others who do the same work. This chance I really enjoy.

BAHS: Why are you doing the job you are doing today?

KAN: See answer to question 1 above

BAHS: If you had three wishes: Which would they be?

KAN: My three wishes would be:

    1. To live a long and healthy life

    2. To see my daughter succeed and to be able to play some role in her success

    3. To succeed in writng a book

Thank you

Kantathi, thank you so much for taking the time for this Intervew. It was a pleasure …

one last question

BAHS: School reunions are a time to catch up with old friends and reminisce about days gone by. Besides the usual chatting and eating, fun activities can make a reunion extra special and help people enjoy each other’s company. 
What are your thought´s on this?

KAN: Because of the Second World War and the subsequent arrangements in Germany, we met and grew up together in one of the best American schools in the world, strategically located in this beautiful small town in Germany, called Bonn. Thanks to Hans Hahne, the Hahne family and everyone involved in organizing this best 2017 reunion ever!