Our Team

The Faces of Mekong Institute

Dr. Watcharas Leelawath

Dr. Watcharas Leelawath is currently serving his second term as the Executive Director of Mekong Institute (MI).

Prior to joining MI, he was the Deputy Executive Director of the International Institute for Trade and Development (ITD) in-charge of planning, supervising and conducting research projects, training programs and various capacity building activities. He was also Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota, Morris, USA where he taught International Economics and Mathematics for Economists.

He is a trade economist with a strong interest in trade and development cooperation issues in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and ASEAN frameworks, and has extensive research experience in the fields of International Labor Migration and Regional Economic Integration. Dr. Leelawath has written several papers presented in local and international conferences, has published several articles on trade-related topics and has co-authored a book entitled “Economics and Trade in Goods: An Introduction.” He has also provided his expertise in a number of capacity building activities organized by ITD, ADB, UNESCAP, WTO and Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA).

Dr. Leelawath earned his undergraduate degree from Chulalongkorn University, and his MA and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Kansas, USA

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta is currently the Director of Trade & Investment Facilitation (TIF) Department at Mekong Institute (MI). Prior to joining MI, he served as Research Director of the Economic Institute of Cambodia (EIC) and Adviser of Cambodia India Entrepreneurship Development Institute (a bilateral project of Governments of India and Cambodia). He was conferred as Honorary Advisor to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Cambodia through a royal degree by the Prime Minister and the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Mr. Dutta has over 20 years of experience in private sector development in South Asian and South East Asian countries. His key areas of interest are entrepreneurship, SME development and trade facilitation. He has designed and implemented several multilateral capacity development projects on SME and Trade Facilitation in the GMS including the ‘Private Sector Development in the East West Economic Corridor (EWEC)’ and ‘SME Competitiveness in Southern Economic Corridor’ (SEC) funded by Japan; ‘Trade Facilitation Project in the North South Economic Corridor (NSEC)’ funded by China; ‘Integration of CLMV Economies into AEC’ funded by New Zealand; and ‘Certified Logistic Master Program’ funded by the Republic of Korea, among others.

He has also served as consultant to various agencies such as UNESCAP, ADB, World Bank, GIZ, UNDP, IFC, ILO, USAID, IFAD, OXFAM, World Vision, Chemonics International etc. on SME policy development, value chain, tourism, investment feasibility, green business, and private sector innovations.

Mr. Dutta earned his master’s degree from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and a Master of Science in Regional Development Planning and Management from Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. He also holds an advanced diploma in regional development planning.


Mr. Quan Anh Nguyen

Mr. Quan Anh Nguyen is a Program Specialist at TIF Department. Before joining MI, he was a staff member and consultant for development organizations such as ADB, United Nations Volunteer, World Bank, AusAid, the European Commission, JICA, IFAD, KfW Development Bank, etc.

He has over 26 years of experience in the private and international development sectors, specializing in international trade and finance for development with skills and experience in economic research and financial analysis, public sector management, trade and trade facilitation, and private sector development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). His work has spanned program design and development, ODA operations and development and capacity development.

Mr. Quan Anh Nguyen earned his Master of Arts in Economics (International Trade and Finance) degree from the University of Manoa (UHM), Hawai’i, USA.


Mr. Sa-Nga Sattanun

Mr. Sa-Nga Sattanun, Program Manager for TIF, has worked in MI for more than 15 years. He has conducted learning programs with international organizations such as UNIAP, GMS-BF, NZAID, ADB, EDI, TICA, JICA, SDC, in areas related to regional development and cooperation such as SME, trade facilitation, agribusiness, tourism, and leadership in competitive enterprises.

Currently, he is implementing a series of capacity building programs and business networking activities for the freight transport and logistics sector of the GMS.

Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia

Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia is the Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization (ADC) Department. She joined the Institute with more than 20 years of experience in development work, research, project management, training, and teaching in various disciplines including supply chains and marketing, industrial organization, farming systems/sustainable agriculture, community development, impact assessment, project monitoring and evaluation, and socio-economics.

Prior to joining MI, she worked as University Researcher and Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and was on secondment to the International Rice Research Institute and the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture for several years. She has worked in the US, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines as researcher, trainer, facilitator, technical adviser, and consultant with various international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Food and Agriculture Organization, German Agency for International Cooperation, the European Commission, International Development Research Center, and the World Bank.

She obtained her BS degree in Agribusiness from University of the Philippines Los Baños, MS degree in Agricultural Economics from University of Kentucky, USA, and post-graduate diploma in Executive Program in Management from Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands.


Ms. Jutamas Thongcharoen

Ms. Jutamas Thongcharoen is ADC Program Manager and an accredited Regional Training Specialist of MRCs FMMP Program. Before joining MI, Ms. Thongcharoen served various administration and project coordination roles at Khon Kaen University including the Faculty of Public Health, Institute of Dispute Resolution, and the Agriculture Consulting International Company.

She has a master’s degree in Rural Development Management from Khon Kaen University.

Mr. Sudam Pawar

Mr. Sudam Pawar is the Director of the Innovation and Technological Connectivity (ITC) Department. A development professional with over 20 years of experience in the development sector, Mr. Pawar has worked in the areas of management consultancy, project management, training and capacity building.

His key areas of interest are innovations and technology in energy, environment, entrepreneurship and sustainable livelihood. He has extensive experience in implementing development projects in Africa and India funded by multilateral agencies, governments and the private sector. His work has spanned the areas of business plan development and implementation, performance analysis and risk management.

Mr. Pawar obtained his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Mahatma Phule Agricultural University, and his MBA (International Business) from Jadavpur University of Kolkata, India.