Prof. Dr. Amara Pongsapich graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Davis and received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, U.S.A. After completing her degree she joined Chulalongkorn University in the Faculty of Political Science, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. While teaching at the Faculty of Political Science she was also a researcher at the Social Research Institute (CUSRI). She spent all of her academic career at Chulalongkorn University and her positions at Chulalongkorn University included Director of the Social Research Institute (1987-93, 1997-2002), Vice President for Research (1993-96), and Dean of Faculty of Political Science (2002-2006). After retiring, the University honored her with the title Professor Emeritus and requested that she continue providing her service to the University in the position of Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies during 2006-2009.
In 2009, she was one of the seven applicants selected to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. She became the Chair of the Commission during 2009-2015. In 2019 she was selected by the search committee to become Thailand Representative to the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights for the term 2019-2012.
Her areas of interest and publications fall in three main categories. First category is more theoretical and conceptual, including gender and ethnic studies, social policy, and alternative development concepts. The second group covers the issue of globalization and socio-cultural impacts of development on minority and vulnerable groups, civil society and social movements. Finally, her more recent works concentrate on the issue of peace and conflict studies, together with human security and human rights.
Among her many publications, she published five books: (1) Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity: Anthropological Analysis of Thai Society (1989), (2) Cultural Diversity: Paradigm Shift and Role of Civil Society (1996), (3) Feminism and Women’s Movement: Transnational Civil Society Movements and the New Social Movement (2005) (4) The Future of Thai Politics: Democratic Movement for Social Justice (2006), and (5) Social Movements for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (2015).