MARQUETTE, Mich.— Representatives of Bangkokthonburi University in Thailand visited Northern Michigan University this week to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement paves the way for student and faculty exchanges, along with collaborations on research and publications. Bangkokthonburi is a private institution established about a decade ago. It has an enrollment of 20,000 and offers programs up to the doctorate level. “We want to improve the quality of higher education in Thailand,” said Rangson Prasertsri of Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, who accompanied the group because of his previous experience drafting MOUs and his collaborations with NMU political science and public administration professor William Ball. “We believe higher education in the United States is one of the best in the world. That is why we want to learn about it. If possible, faculty from Bangkokthonburi might sit in on classes here so they can return with more knowledge to their own classrooms.” Of the original 17-member delegation planning to visit NMU, only three were able to obtain visas and make the trip because of civil unrest in Bangkok. This is the university’s first MOU with a U.S. institution. Marcelo Siles, NMU director of international programs, said, “This is one more step to internationalize our campus. We keep the possibility open of working with other universities from all over the world.” Northern has MOUs with schools in a dozen other countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Sweden.