Public gets good look at corruption from the 'inside'

17 Dec 2012

imageUNDP Thailand / Mark S. Cogan | "The Man in the Colorful Suit"

Starting with a Special Preview held on December 9 (International Anti-Corruption Day) and closing on 16 December, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) wrapped up its first-ever anti-corruption themed art exhibition.

Twenty three universities from across Thailand participated in the week long exhibit held at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC).

“This art exhibition is new for UNDP—as I am sure it is for [the National Anti-Corruption Commission] NACC. It’s an entirely new form of advocacy. There were no television screens. We did not issue a special report or a new ranking to show. We’re just asked the public to look at some very interesting and powerful works of art,” said Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand.

More exhibition photos are available on Facebook.

Rather than look externally for the causes of corruption, the exhibition will feature art aimed at exploring corruption from the perspective of the individual.

The art exhibit was a continuation of UNDP’s Anti-Corruption Initiative, which has engaged more than 90 universities and over 2,000 student leaders from across Thailand. Beginning in June, UNDP held anti-corruption camps for students and created the Thai Youth Anti-Corruption Network, a public advocacy network designed to recruit new students, and disseminate anti-corruption information to university peers.

“The United Nations is troubled by the problem of corruption in Thailand and around the world. Corruption affects all countries, undermines progress, widens inequality and fosters contempt. It hurts valuable institutions—like hospitals, schools, and universities,” said Stevens in his welcoming remarks on December 9.

“We all have a responsibility to take action against corruption. But simply pointing a finger of blame at others will not solve the problem. This art exhibit asks you to look at yourselves,” he said.

A recent ABAC poll reported that two-thirds of Thai people hold the view that corruption in government is acceptable as long as they also benefit from it. A majority of young people under 20 now hold the same attitude. In response, UNDP has engaged civil society in raising awareness about the dangers of corruption in Thai society.