Thailand semester approaching completion

The Thailand semester is nearing completion, though numerous events are still in store.

“We have Dr. Dennis Schmitt from Missouri State coming on Monday, Oct. 22,” Chad Stebbins, director of the institute of international studies. “He’s doing a couple of programs on the elephants of Thailand.”

Schmitt held the position of alumni professor of reproductive biology in the school of agriculture at Missouri State.

 He is additionally the chair of veterinary care and director of research for the Ringling Bros. circus.

“In planning a Thailand semester, we quickly realized that we absolutely had to have a program on the elephant,” Stebbins said.

“When people think of Thailand they often think of the elephant. So, we were fortunate to find out that we have perhaps the national expert on elephants 70 miles away in Springfield.”

Schmitt is scheduled to present at 10 a.m. in Corley Auditorium. His presentation “Where is the Elephant in the Room?” is scheduled to be followed by the documentary “The Last Elephants in Thailand,” at 11 a.m. in the same location.

Schmitt will present “Shades of Gray: It’s Not Black & White!” at noon, following the documentary.

“The major event is coming up on Monday, Oct. 29,” Stebbins said.

“That is the Somapa Thai Dance Company from Washington, D.C. They’re going to present native Thai dance.”

The Somapa Thai Dance Company will be performing “Pralor,” based on the ancient poem “Lilit Pralor.”

Despite a great response for some of the initial speaker presentations, disappointing attendance for the evening Gockel Symposium may prompt a change in future scheduled events, Stebbins said.

“Of all the Gockel Symposiums we’ve had in the past, the evening attendance has been the lowest,” Stebbins said. “Maybe next year we may not have an evening program, maybe we’ll have two daytime programs or do something differently.”