In June, John A. Rohr, a professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy, in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ School of Public and International Affairs, will travel to Thailand for the third time to continue his analysis of the Thai government under its fledgling constitution.

Two alumni of the Center for Public Administration and Policy—Amporn Tamronglak, now an associate professor at Thammasat University; and Supachai Yavaprabas, now a professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University and representative to the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO)—have assisted Rohr with his research. Tamronglak and Yavaprabas have assisted Rohr with his research by arranging a lecture for their Thai students from their former professor. They have also set up interviews with prominent Thai office-holders, including two justices of the Supreme Court of Thailand.

Rohr’s focus on Thai constitutional law and history had its genesis in 1990 when he accepted a Fulbright Scholarship to write a book about the French constitution, Founding Republics in France and America. Another book project, Civil Servants and Their Constitutions, explored similarities and differences between four constitutions: French, Canadian, British, and American. Then came a suggestion from Yavaprabas that Rohr expand his horizons and include a country such as Thailand in his work.

In 2001, Thailand had a popular, newly elected prime minister and, for the first time in its history, a one-party majority in parliament. Despite his popularity, the prime minister was severely criticized for certain improprieties and perhaps even illegalities in office. These allegations would not go away and eventually Thailand was faced with the Hobson’s choice between democracy and the rule of law, a classic confrontation Rohr described in the journal Public Integrity. This summer Rohr will examine more closely certain questions of constitutional law in Thailand. He also hopes to find time to study the relationship between Buddhism and the Thai state, a topic that might prove instructive for western political commentators.

As a result of his exposure in Thailand, a book to which Rohr contributed, Refounding Public Administration, was published in Thai in 2003.

Louis Fisher, senior constitutional specialist with the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, said in Political Science Quarterly, “For the past three decades, John Rohr has been our national treasure in thinking through the relationships that exist between the U.S. Constitution and the duties of public servants. His books explore the constitutional values and legal principles that should undergird public administration.”

John A. Rohr is a recipient of the ASPA Distinguished Research Award, the Louis Brownlow Award, and the Dwight Waldo Award. He is the author of seven books. Rohr received his bachelor’s degree and his Ph.L. from Loyola University Chicago and his master’s degree from Georgetown.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is one of the largest of its type in the nation. The college is composed of two schools and the departments of landscape architecture, building construction, and art and art history. The School of Architecture + Design includes programs in architecture, industrial design and interior design. The School of Public and International Affairs includes programs in urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy, and government and international affairs. The college enrolls more than 2,000 students offering 22 degrees programs taught by 160 faculty members.

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