Vijavat Isarabhakdi, Ph.D.

Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs


Vijavat Isarabhakdi has served as Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand since his appointment on 13 August 2019.  He had previously held the position of Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018-2019. 


A career diplomat, who retired from the Thai diplomatic service in October 2017, Ambassador Vijavat was previously Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada from 2015-2017. Concurrently, he was non-resident Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as well as non-resident Ambassador to Jamaica.  He also held the position of Permanent Representative of Thailand to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal during the same period. 


From 2013 to 2015, Ambassador Vijavat served as Thailand’s Ambassador to the United States of America, and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the Organization of American States (OAS).  He has held various other senior positions in the Thai Foreign Service, including Deputy Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, overseeing Thailand’s bilateral relations with other countries, from 2012 to 2013; Director-General of the Department of International Organizations in Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2012; and Ambassador/ Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations Office in Geneva from 2006 to 2011.


Born on 28 June 1957, Ambassador Vijavat began his diplomatic career in 1990, serving as U.S. desk officer in the North America Division, Department of Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.  He spent one year as a Congressional Fellow on Capitol Hill, under the sponsorship of the American Political Science Association and the Asia Foundation, serving in the offices of Senator Hank Brown (R-Colorado) and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-California). He subsequently served as First Secretary (Political Affairs) at the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. from 1994 to 1997.


During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Vijavat has served as an aide to two Foreign Ministers from 1992-93 and from 1997-2000, acting as interpreter, speechwriter and personal assistant.  He was seconded to the Office of the Prime Minister during 2001-2006, where he performed similar responsibilities for the Prime Minister of Thailand, while concurrently serving as a liaison between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government House.


He has headed Thailand’s delegation to various multilateral conferences, including the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in 2011, the Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2018, the 2nd High-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation in 2019, the 5th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in 2019, the 18th Ministerial Meeting and Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 2019, the 19th Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Ministerial Meeting in 2019, and the 28th Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2021.


Ambassador Vijavat received his undergraduate degree (First Class Honours) in 1980 from the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.  In 1982, he received a Fulbright-Peurifoy scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the United States of America, earning his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (M.A.L.D.) degree in 1984 as well as his Ph.D. in International Relations in 1989 from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts.


On 5 December 2014, in recognition of his services, Ambassador Vijavat was bestowed the Royal Decoration of Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand. 


Representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he received an award for Outstanding Civil Servant of the Year from the Prime Minister of Thailand in the year 2000.


Ambassador Vijavat is married to Wannipa Isarabhakdi and has one daughter, Natasha.