Sunday, August 19, 2007

DA Thailand Plans Strategy and Plots Course for 2008!

DA Thailand had an excellent annual meeting, with 39 members attending at the FCCT and another 17 members sending their proxies to participate. After hearing from guest speakers Clay Adler and Faith Shehane of American Citizen Services section of the US Embassy, DAT members held a free-wheeling discussion about strategies to reach out to larger groups of Americans, and brainstormed on activities for the rest of 2007 and into 2008. It was agreed that issues forums will be organized (with Vice-Chair Don Linder taking the lead) and a DAT movie night will be scheduled in September after one generous member volunteered the use of his house! A series of talks by speakers was raised, with the first to occur around Labor Day with a discussion by a visiting officer of the United Farm Workers of America about "US politics, the race for 2008, and immigration." No-host "social hours" will be organized on a regular basis for members to talk politics, meet new friends, and network. Andy Boname agreed to take on a research project on the changes to the overseas tax exemption for Americans, as a first step to developing policy proposals for the DA and the overall Democratic Party platform.

Members' questions about the exciting DA "Global Primary" were answered by DA Asia-Pacific Vice-Chair Gary Suwannarat, who came down from Chiang Mai with newly elected Chiang Mai & the North Chapter Chair, Dr. Peter Foley. DAT Chair Phil Robertson broached the idea of organizing a DA straw poll of the Presidential candidates, perhaps in November or December, for DAT members to take part in -- and will do more research on this idea. Numerous excellent suggestions were made for outreach to other organizations in which Americans are active -- such as US university student programs to Thailand, Rotary, and the Peace Corps -- and for use of new technologies (like blogs and other on-line resources) to help spread the DAT word.

The DAT Country Committee was formally elected at the meeting, with the following line up:

Phil Robertson, Chair
Elizabeth Boname, 1st Vice-Chair
Peter Fischbach, Vice-Chair
Don Linder, Vice-Chair
Rick Graves, Secretary
Andy Boname, Treasurer

Congratulations to the officers, and thanks to all the DA Thailand members who turned out and made the meeting such a success.

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