SEAMEO SPAFA, Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts, is part of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an international organization dedicated to promoting co-operation in education, science and culture in Southeast Asia.
- Brunei Darussalam
- Lao PDR
Associate Member Countries
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
SEAMEO SPAFA seeks to
Cultivate awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage through collaboration in information dissemination and other relevant programmes of activities.
Promote and help enrich archaeological and cultural activities in the region through collaborative programmes and other relevant activities.
Further professional competence in the fields of archaeology and fine arts through regional programmes and activities, and through sharing of resources and experiences.
Advance mutual knowledge and understanding among the countries of Southeast Asia through regional programmes in archaeology and fine arts.
Establishment of the SEAMEO-initiated ARCAFA (Applied Research Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts).
In 1971, the Applied Research Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (ARCAFA) was initiated to discover and preserve the cultural heritage of Southeast Asia. The Centre was in operation for a two-year interim phase (1975-77)
Launch of SPAFA (SEAMEO Project in Archaeology and Fine Arts) and its co-ordinating unit in Bangkok.
SEAMEO re-established ARCAFA in 1978 as a Project in Archaeology and Fine Arts. A co-ordinating unit was based in Bangkok, with three sub-centres in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei became members later, followed by Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Approval of SEAMEO SPAFA as a permanent project.
Establishment of the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts
The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA) was constituted in 1985 (the acronym, SPAFA, is based on the project name, ‘SEAMEO Project in Archaeology and Fine Arts’).
Inauguration of the newly-built SEAMEO SPAFA building.
On June 12, 1993, the newly-built SEAMEO SPAFA building was inaugurated by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to mark the official transfer of the Centre, hosted by the Royal Thai Government, from the SEAMEO Secretariat building.
Prof. M.C. Subhadradis Diskul, recognized worldwide as one of Thailand’s most illustrious professors in the fields of history and archaeology, was appointed as the Centre’s first Director. He held office from 1987 to 1993, guiding the Centre though its core programme of archaeology and fine Arts. His successor, Dr. Ruang Chareonchai, former Secretary General of Thailand National Commission for Culture, followed this policy until he passed away in 1998. He was succeeded by Dr. Pisit Charoenwongsa, former Archaeologist of Thai Fine Arts Department, who initiated new projects related to the broader interests of cultural preservation, development and management. Under his leadership, the Centre built up new relations with other international organizations such as UNESCO, International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the Getty Foundation, the ASEAN Foundation, the Japan Foundation, and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU). Dr. Pisit was head of the Centre between 1999 and 2010. Dr. M.R. Rujaya Abhakorn, former Deputy Director for Administration and Communication, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat, assumed office as SEAMEO SPAFA’s Director on 1 October 2010 and retired on 30 September 2019.
The current Centre Director is Mrs. Somlak Charoenpot. She assumed office on 1 October 2019.