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Surry County was honored to welcome a visit from the Royal Thai Embassy with Ambassador Tanee Sangrat – whose country has a unique connection to our community.

Chang and Eng Bunker were born in 1811 in Siam, now known as Thailand. These twins were conjoined (born with their bodies joined together)—attached by a four-inch-wide band of flesh they eventually stretched to five inches so they could stand beside each other. Their names, Chang and Eng, meant left and right. They were given the label “original Siamese twins” because they were the first conjoined twins to be described in that way and the first conjoined twins ever seen by a lot of people. The twins and their families spent much of their adult lives in Surry County in the White Plains- Mount Airy area. Read more about Eng & Chang Bunker here – https://lnkd.in/gAPRqmVC

A unique occurrence in history has flourished into an active relationship between Surry County and Thailand. A formal relationship between Mount Airy and Samut Songkhram Province, Thailand has developed through Sister Cities International, a non-profit organization begun by President Eisenhower to develop deeper relationships between communities around the world.

This particular visit from the Royal Embassy of Thailand was developed in partnership with the Surry Arts Council and occurred over the same weekend as the Bunker Family Reunion, which the ambassador attended. Earlier in his visit, on the afternoon of the 14th, Surry County EDP along with Surry County’s NC General Assembly delegates, staff from NC Commerce and Sen. Tillis’s office, and local elected officials participated in a discussion on Thai-US relations and economic opportunity between us. The discussion centered around economic development in Surry County and North Carolina, as well as sustainable energy initiatives and manufacturing.

Surry County EDP is excited to continue the conversation with our counterparts at the Thai Embassy. There is opportunity for our community to foster further economic ties between our two nations and the EDP looks forward to playing it’s part in that development.