Dr.Thaksin Shinawatra became the 23rd Prime Minister of Thailand on 9 February 2001 and was the first Prime Minister in the Thai history who completed a full four – year term in January 2005. He was reelected in February 2005 and was Prime Minister until a military coup on 19 September 2006. Previous political appointments include Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2 November 1994 to 10 February 1995; Leader of the Palang Dharma Party, 28 May 1995 to 18 November 1996; Deputy Prime Minister (In charge of traffic and transportation in Bangkok) 28 July 1995 to 14 August 1996; and Deputy Prime Minister from 15 August to 14 November 1997. In July 1998 he established and became Leader of the Thai Rak Thai Party. On 6 January 1998 to February 2001 he was Member of the Parliament (Party List).
Dr.Shinawatra founded and became Vice Chairman of the THAICOM Foundation, (initiating the satellite education program for young children in remote area unable to continue their education at the secondary school level) on 20 September 1993. Since 1994 he was chairman of the Advisory Committee of Pre-Cadet Class 10 & Police Cadet Class 26. On 12 September 1998 he became president of the Northerners’ Association of Thailand; on 9 February 1999 he became honorary chairman of the Northern Thai Association of Washington, D.C., United States, and on 28 June 1999 he became honorary advisor of the Thai Northerners Association of Illinois, United States.
In 1973, Dr.Shinawatra joined the Royal Thai Police Department and was promoted to Police Lieutenant Colonel in 1987. His last position was as deputy superintendent of the Policy and Planning Sub-division, General Staff Division, Metropolitan Police Bureau. In 1987 he started Shinawatra Computer and Communications Group, and became its Chairman until 1994.
Dr. Shinawatra has received several awards including “1992 ASEAN Businessman of the Year” from the ASEAN Institute, Indonesia in 1992; “ Kiattiyod Jakdao” in Economical Development from the Committee of the Armed forces Preparatory School Foundation in 1992; In 1993 he was “ Outstanding Telecom Man of the Year Award” ; was honored as one of the twelve “ Leading Asian Businessmen” by the Singapore Business Times, a finalist of the “Asian CEO of the Year” selected by the Financial World; and was invited as the first Thai and third fellow to attend the “Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellowship” program. In 1996 Dr.Shinawatra received the “Outstanding Criminal Justice Alumnus Award” from the Criminal Justice Center, and was honored the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from Sam Houston State University. In 1997 he received the honorary award as the “Outstanding Politician” (who has contributed significantly to the society) from the Mass Media Photographer Association of Thailand (MPA). In October 2002, he received “Sam Houston Humanitarian Award” from Sam Houston State University, U.S.A. Dr.Shinawatra also received Honorary Doctorate Degree from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan. In May 2007, he received Honorary Doctor of Sciences of Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economic, Russia. In November 2009, he was appointed as personal Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Sam Dech Hun Sen and Adviser to the Cambodian Government in charge of economy and he resigned in August 2010.
Dr.Shinawatra graduated from the Police Cadet Academy in Thailand in 1973. In 1975 he gained his master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University, and in 1978 gained a doctorate degree in criminal justice, from Sam Houston State University, United State. Dr. Shinawatra holds the following royal decorations: Knight Grand Commander of the Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao (2002); Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn (2001); Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant (1996); Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand (1995).
He also holds the foreign decorations: Royal Order of Sahametrei (Grand Cross) of the Kingdom of Cambodia (2001); Ahmed Al Fatch of the Kingdom of Bahrain (2002); The Most Blessed Order of Setia Negara Brunei (1st Class) P.S.N.B. of Brunei Darussalam (2002); Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star of the Kingdom of Sweden.