Why is language learning the key to success in the non-profit world? An interview with LGBTQ+ Thai global activist, Best Chitsanupong, will guide you through her remarkable adventure as the founder of a non-profit organization in Thailand, international activities, and her language learning journey.
Her perspective will show you how language learning allows people to adapt, make connections, and acquire worldwide opportunities. Seeing it from a career point of view, being able to communicate in other languages can build trust and strong relationships. You can have the power and total control over whom you connect with. The opportunities to bond with local people, beneficiaries of your cause, leaders, and volunteers who don't speak your mother tongue become endless. And you start to see the world from a different light. A much better one!
We are extremely excited and happy to have been able to carry out this interview, which can be a motivation for young people looking to improve their professional future and adapt to this globalized world.
Do you want to meet this brilliant activist and discover how she has successfully worked on an international scale? Keep on reading!
My name is Best Chitsanupong. I currently work as a Public Information Assistant Consultant at the Department of Peace Operations at the United Nations in New York.
I am the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization 'Young Pride Club,' which covers LGBTQ+ Youth community-related causes in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
'Young Pride Club,' established by Best Chitsanupong in 2018, is a Thai non-profit organization that provides a safe learning space for young people interested in gender equality and the LGBTQ+ community.
It is supported by 'The Department of Women's Studies' of Chiang Mai University (WSC CMU) to provide activities and raise awareness. The organization has developed leadership, cooperation, and strong advocacy for the causes it fights for.
The organization has 40,000 followers, has developed 50 young LGBT+ leaders across four regions of Thailand, and has collaborated with 50 NGOs to organize important events such as the Chiang Mai Pride in 2019.
Young Pride Club (YPC) was established by the survivors of unfair discrimination based on gender identity at Chiang Mai University. In 2017, other transgender graduates and I were not allowed to wear clothes matching our identities. Therefore, we created an online petition on Change.org calling for the regulation change to let us be who we are. We were glad to have received more than 2000 online signatures.
Subsequently, the university urgently declared a new regulation to allow us to wear uniforms according to our gender identity.
Since then, we have realized that many universities in Thailand have discriminatory policies and regulations against LGBTQ+ students. So, we established the YPC as a platform to fulfill and protect the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in Thailand.
I believe so. I was selected to be a fellow of the U.S. Department of States' scholarship called Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). This scholarship provided an educational trip to the host university in the U.S., where you could learn from the local non-profit organizations and study Civics Engagement.
It was an excellent opportunity to learn how LGBTQ+ organizations build the community in the U.S.
Furthermore, I met youth leaders from the LGBTQ+ resources at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, from whom I gained great lessons to apply to my YPC's community-building plan.
After returning to Thailand, we organized more community-building events such as seminars, gender talks, and movie nights. We also produced online educational content to let people know more regarding LGBTQ+ issues.
That was the point in my life where I started to become an LGBTQ+ activist.
The English language was my greatest tool to advance my career as I started to learn different things, including community building.
In fact, English isn't the only language to my advantage. When I was selected to be an intern at the U.N., I also built some French skills. The French language is desirable as it is one of the official languages of the U.N.
Besides my native language, Thai, I speak English and have learned Spanish, Chinese, and a bit of French. I am also interested in Korean and have an introductory Korean language level.
Yes, of course. Learning a new language is the key to success. In my opinion, it has not only helped me succeed in my personal goals but also provided me with a wide range of opportunities for my career advancement.
As a human rights defender, I've seen how the English language has helped amplify the voice of unheard people from marginalized communities.
I had the privilege and opportunity to work with an international non-profit organization partner when I was selected to represent the LGBTQ+ Youth to speak at a U.N. Human Right Council event.
This was a big occasion for me to express our deep concern regarding the Thai government and its lack of attention to the LGBTQ+ community's voice in Thailand. The government was only considering the human rights recommendations from the Member States, taking no further action on other important topics in the country.
During my presentation, I was nervous but extremely excited at the same time. To me, it was such a challenging yet fulfilling and proud moment.
Due to my English proficiency skills, I could draft a clear and concise speech to highlight this critical message, raise awareness, and emphasize my purpose.
So, I firmly believe that learning a new language can help you achieve bigger goals than you ever thought possible. You will be advancing in your professional career as well as in your personal growth. In my case, my professional path has been polished enough as I have seen how helping the LGBTQ+ community in Thailand has allowed visibility from a global perspective.
Yes. French, of course!
I would recommend everybody to learn a new language. People who aspire to a successful global career should at least speak another language apart from their mother tongue.
You can start by learning English and continue with other languages of interest. This advice is specially directed toward Thai citizens who want to work at a non-profit organization or become an activist.
Having English skills in Thailand, mainly in the non-profit world, will help you open endless doors to gain partners from different worldwide communities, such as supporters, donors, and international organizations.
These connections are essential because Thai agencies and the government have limited and competitive funding for non-profit organizations. Therefore, with enough English abilities, you will have sufficient skills to write the proposal for getting a fund effortlessly.
In addition, decreasing language barriers opens doors for excellent communication with international contacts who can bring you into interesting and diverse projects to work on. Furthermore, you can get in touch with locals and leaders so much easier if you speak their native tongue.
For example, on the 9th and 10th of July, I had the honor of conversing with the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinke as part of the LGBTQ+ Youth leader and YSEALI Alumni. Such experiences wouldn't be possible with language barrier limitations.
Furthermore, 'Young Pride Club' grew vastly fast because of the partnerships and supporters that we have maintained. I can strongly affirm that my language abilities were some of the essential keys that helped me expand my organization and raise my voice about our cause.
I believe that there are so many ways to learn a new language. For example, studying directly from your mobile applications is a good option as it gives you more frequency of engagement with the language.
People use their phones daily, so why not leverage that for practical action, such as learning to speak a different language? You can set a reminder to learn daily and help you keep track of your progress to motivate you even more.
Nowadays, with all these resources, like language learning apps, speaking more than your mother tongue is more accessible than ever. You have the tools to be fluent in any language, practice as much as possible, and control your progress.
By learning new languages, you can travel worldwide, make new friends wherever you go, and be even more connected with their culture and involved in their society. You can live abroad and adapt quickly and easily by speaking the language.
You can also boost your CV and get excellent jobs in non-profits or any other career path you love.
Your opportunities are endless!
As Best said, you have endless opportunities and open doors whenever you learn a new language.
If you are striving for bigger goals in your personal and professional paths, why don't you try to begin studying the language you have always wanted. After all, speaking to someone in their native tongue can bring wonders, and you may gain more supporters and friends.
We deeply admire and support Best and everyone who cares for important social causes and has thoughtfully built their professional and personal careers with a global mind. We encourage everyone to follow these steps toward improving every day by learning a new language.
Speaking different languages might be one of our biggest obstacles to helping each other as a society, but we have the perfect solution: learning a new language!
Thank you, Best, for your time and thoughts on this interview!
This interview was conducted by Tanawat Promwimanrat, Business Development & Partnerships at Ling. Edited by Nat Davila, Content Marketer at Ling.