A conference on “Sufficiency Economy, Participatory Development, and Universities” will be held in Bangkok on 15 – 16 December 2007. According to the conference blurb:
Outside academia, it is interesting to observe the resurgence of alternative thinking and practice–an attempt by people at the grassroots level to search for solutions to problems produced by imbalanced development–with the goal of creating sustainable livelihood. Alternative livelihoods practiced by communities around the world speak to the centrality of ideological commitment to the integral goal of sustainability and the security of human and natural ecology. Currently in the Thai context, the King’s Sufficiency Economy exists in harmony and with strong conceptual links to other alternative strands of development thinking and practice. It has become a movement which provides an inspiration for people from all walks of life, from those whose dreams of wealth collapsed during economic crisis a decade ago, to those whose practices of moderation have long been part and parcel of their livelihood. Sufficiency thinking has re-emerged, igniting all sorts of debates, research and social experimentation. In some Thai universities, degree programs in sufficiency economy have begun. University-community partnership in organizing meaningful and relevant education has taken place, with local intellectual playing an active part in the process. Co-designing sufficiency economy curriculum in higher education institutions with collaborative spirit provides an example of how university can embrace participatory paradigm in an effort to reinvent the structure, process, and intervention of higher education so that university becomes a site of direct and active social engagement and a transformative community for learners, teachers, thinkers and actors to co-exist and work side by side towards a sustainable and inclusive global society.
Some more details are available in this PDF file. A great deal of further information is on the conference website. It has a list of the tentative speakers and panelists. If any New Mandala readers are looking to attend, and would like to write a report on this event, then please get in contact with me.