COMPANY SPOTLIGHT: Chiang Mai Foundation for Older Persons Development (FOPDEV)


Warren Bennis, legendary scholar and pioneer of leadership studies once said, “success in management requires learning as fast as the world is changing.” I believe that this quote defines the future of business and communication. In order to prepare for an increasingly interconnected world, it’s important for American leaders in every field of study and practice to build up cultural adaptability and sensibility- to become a global citizen. This unique opportunity to visit Thailand was an important milestone in my journey to towards being a career diplomat. I have been studying East Asian affairs for four years now, but I have never taken the time to understand the surrounding regions and cultures. Thailand culture gave me a deeper understanding of the political, socio-cultural, and economic context of Asia. On a personal level, I have applied the concept of Sabai Sabai, living life in full tranquility and joy, to my daily life.


As an International Relations Global business undergrad and Public Diplomacy Master candidate, I was very set on joining the State Department after graduation. However the companies and organizations we visited during this trip inspired me to look into other paths before joining the State Department. FOPDEV, Foundation for Older Person’s Development was the organization that inspired me the most. They are an NGO that tackles the issue of how to take care of disenfranchised senior citizens. Their Buddy Home Care program trains young adults and children from low socio-economic backgrounds to become caretakers for the elderly and in doing so, they address two huge social issues. I believe that this kind of revolutionary ‘bottom-of-the-pyramid’ non-profit innovation is exactly what is needed in not only Thailand, but the United States. Before meeting the founders of FOPDEV, I never seriously thought this issue, but since then, I’ve realized that it’s one of the most pressing issues of our time. I hope to be able to intern with them either this summer, or remotely in the fall. The trip to Bangkok and Chiang Mai exceeded all of my expectations and I can’t wait to go back and experience more of what Thailand has to offer.


Kelechi Emetuch

is a progressive masters student in Public Diplomacy at USC Annenberg and International Relations Global Business in the Dornsife School of Letters Arts and Sciences. She has a professional background in fundraising and sales and hopes to use that knowledge to better the non-profit sector and later create her own social enterprise. When she’s not in school or work, she’s learning how to cook new cuisines and writing poetry.