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NMSU professor's 1,500 days in Thailand wraps up Global Connections series

Twelve kinds of Thai smiles, a flood that closed the university and a motorcycle accident are just a few of the things New Mexico State University's director of bands Christopher Hughes experienced during his four years in Thailand.

NMSU music professor Christopher Hughes spent four years in Thailand, and will discuss his adventures at an upcoming Global Connections lecture. (photo by Darren Phillips)

Hughes will share his adventures in the semester's last installment of the College of Arts and Sciences' Global Connections lecture series at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in Gerald Thomas Hall Auditorium, Room 194.

Hughes, who is also an associate professor of music, spent exactly 1,500 days living in Bangkok, Thailand while he taught at Mahidol University from 2008 to 2012.

"I'd never really spent time abroad," he said. "There are fundamental differences in how they look at life over there. I learned that we really are fortunate to be Americans, even with all the problems we face. There are things in society other people haven't gotten to yet."

During his stay, Hughes learned about King Bhumibol Adulyadej's philosophy of sufficiency economy, which emphasizes moderation and traditional Thai values of self-reliance and perseverance.

"They're thankful for what they have. They worry less about what they want, and more about what they need," Hughes said. "It certainly made me question some things. I no longer take for granted things I used to."

Other topics he will discuss include the three levels of respect shown while greeting others, nine kings and the special impact of numbers four, five and nine; journeys of outreach to other countries and the deaths and injuries caused during a political crisis.

The Global Connections series features faculty members' exotic trips around the world. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for members of the campus and surrounding community to listen and ask questions of NMSU professors about the kind of global first-hand experiences they might never otherwise encounter.

Those who attend the lecture will have an opportunity to dine at 100 West Cafe prior to the talk. 100 West Cafe is a hands-on laboratory for students in NMSU's Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program, offering buffet-style dining every Wednesday for $8.