UNESCO video on Ethics and Bioethics Workshop

Filmed at a workshop at the Science Center in Bangkok, Thailand, this video is a presentation on “Our Common Future: Our Planet, Our Oasis” for science teachers in Thailand. The displays at the workshop are shown, along with the workshop participants and some scenes from around Bangkok. For the interviews of the Thai science teachers, English subtitles are provided, and overall it seems that they acquired new ideas and learnings that they will share with their students in the classroom.


Societies and communities will progress in a more just, equitable and sustainable direction if the cultural, ethical, and spiritual values of those societies are central determinants in shaping science and technology. Bioethics and environmental ethics have been core areas of action in the Social and Human Science Sector of UNESCO for the past decade. The video shows people participating and learning, through games, about how to attain the goals of bioethics and values education

DdTV Ep. 6 on Open Dream

This video follows John Berns, one of the co-founders of Barcamp Bangkok, on bike tour of the city.  John discusses the rise of local tech communities and the founding of Barcamp in Thailand. The event starts with no agenda and is based on the premise that everyone is both a learner and teacher.

Then they travel to Open Dream to meet Thai developers building digital tools for civil society and business. Open Dream is a social enterprise working with PM Abhisit to create Government 2.0, which provides a platform for Thai citizens to ask the Prime Minister questions. They also work to provide mobile solutions that help in health and agricultural sectors.

TED Population growth explained with IKEA boxes

In this TED video, Hans Rosling explains why ending poverty – over the coming decades – is crucial to stop population growth. Only by raising the living standards of the poorest, in an environmentally-friendly way, will population growth stop at 9 billion people in 2050. Instead of using digital media to demonstrate his point, he uses an analog technology available at IKEA with a few props. He uses one IKEA box to represent one billion people. In 1960, the industrialized world comprised of one billion people (blue box) aspiring to buy a car. In contrast, the developing world with two billion people (green box) sought to find food for the day and aspired to buy a pair of shoes.  In 2010, the number of people have increased and their aspirations have changed but the tragedy is that the poorest of the poor as still struggling to get a pair of shoes while the richest group want to travel the world.

Hans Rosling uses Gapminder in his presentation to show the data of children per woman compared to child survival over time. In particular, if child survival is increased to 90%, then population growth can be stopped and it has become the new indicator to strive for.

In Thailand, we have the entire continuum of people from those in the aspiring for shoes, bikes, cars, and airplane. With its roughly 60 million people in the country, we don’t even get to represent the entire population in Thailand using one IKEA box. However, it is interesting to consider the implications of poverty and population growth on Thailand and the world.

Source: http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Video on Social Enterprise in Thailand

This video captures a dialogue of several social entrepreneurs in Thailand. The images are of Bangkok and some of the problems we face in Thailand such as pollution, poverty, etc. It is a bit inspirational to those of us in Thailand that want to make a difference in a sustainable way. The video is in Thai without any subtitles.

Use of mother tongue vital, studies show

In the Nation article, Use of mother tongue vital, studies show, several speakers and their research results at the Language, Education and Millennium Development Goals were highlighted. Experts in the field of language related their experiences and findings from several countries, including the USA, Canada, Thailand, China, Cambodia and Vietnam. The resounding message from researchers, government officials and teachers was the same, children should learn in their mother tongue before learning a national or international language. With more and evidence to support this philosophy, it has been show by many groups working independently across the globe that the cognitive development of children is supported by learning concrete and abstract concepts in the child’s home langauge first. Then, when the child learns a second or third language, the concepts are easily applied and transferred because the thinking skills and processes are already developed.

I especially think the case in Thailand with the Patani-Malay speaking children was encouraging. Professor of linguistics, Suwilai Premsrirat, from Mahidol University’s Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia explained the process of identifying an appropriate script for the Patani-Malay language, developing learning materials based on the local language, culture and traditions in collaboration with community, teachers, parents and learners. After a few years of implementation, the results are amazing. The project has a 99% approval rate from the community and children are now transitioning from the Thai-based script of Patani-Malay to learning Thai in grade 3 onwards. I think the results are very hopeful and is a critical step in the right direction for solving the problems and conflicts in Thailand’s Deep South.

Source: The Nation

Global Social Venture Competition – Southeast Asia Round

Monument of Pridi Phanomyong at Thammasat Univ...
Image via Wikipedia

Every year Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand hosts the Global Social Venture Competition for the Southeast Asian region (GSVC-SEA).  This business plan competition is focused on promoting new social ventures and social entrepreneurs by providing a forum for these venures to get exposure and funding.

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) was launched in 1999 by the Hass School of Business of the University of California at Berkeley, USA. It was the oldest and largest competition of its kind, to promote entrepreneurial start-up companies which offer measurable social or environmental benefits in addition to profits. These social impacts can be in the areas of health, education, environment, etc. By 2010, GSVC has grown to include over 500 teams worldwide, partnering with many of the world’s top business schools, including the Columbia Business School, the London Business School, and the Indian School of Business.

To enter the GSVC-SEA competition, a team which includes just one graduate business student or a person who graduated from within 2 years from any school submits a five-page executive summary of a proposed venture, which is scalable and offers quantifiable social and/or environmental benefits incorporated into


its mission and practices. Executive summaries must be submitted before 11 pm (Bangkok time), 15 January 2011 to qualify. Please see more detailed rules, regulations and past winners on the website www.gsvc-sea.org.

After the submission process, all entries will undergo the first judging round. Groups of professionals, academics and students gather in Bangkok to review and debate in small groups about the various social ventures submitting. Finally, 12 teams are selected to be the regional finalists who will then come to present their business plans in a two day event in Bangkok, Thailand in March 2011. Each team will be allowed 15 minutes to pitch their plan. Following their presentation, a panel of judges will engage the team in a series of questions regarding the technical, business and social impact aspects of their proposed venture. The top two winners of the business plan competition will be sent to the Global Social Venture Competiton Global Round (GSVC Global) to compete at the University of California, Berkely, USA. In addition, the social venture with the best social impact assessment will be showcased in the Global round.

Here’s a former GSVC-SEA winner who spoke at the 2010 GSVC-SEA Symposium: Lex Reyes talks about RuralLight at GSVC 2010 from Marielle Nadal on Vimeo.

Learning English by reading The Bangkok Post

In this book review of “You Can Read the Bangkok Post”, is touted as a way to independent learn and improve your English with using a dictionary. The book provides strategies that can be applied to any issue of the Bangkok Post and includes some general information about how to read newspapers.

The review provides some examples of the different articles, activities and content in the book, so you can see how the book is set up before you even go to buy it or look at it in the books store. One thing that I thought was humorous is that the English version of the text is provided concurrently with the Thai translation. This means that you don’t need to open a dictionary, but it also means you don’t have to work very hard for comprehension. I don’t know if that’s a pro or a con since working with the text is crucial. I would prefer an emphasis on using context clues and working with word bases to infer meaning of unknown words rather than providing the translation. Maybe I can use this book in reverse to increase the level of my Thai language vocabulary and proficiency.

Source: Bangkok Post

Conference stresses the importance of Language

The Nation newspaper in Bangkok published this article regarding the recent International Language, Education and Millenium Development Goals Conference held on November 9-11, 2010. Many reknown experts in the field, academics, educators, practioners and government officials attended this conference in addition to representatives from various international agencies and NGOs. Over the three days of the conference, many papers were presented regarding the power of language in increasing access for disadvantaged people to access basic services such as health care and education. Langauge is also crucial in decrease their poverty level through better school and income generation opportunities, as well as more sustainable lifestyles. As Dr. Suzanne Romaine, a well-published author on socio-linguistics, stated “language is the missing link” to having our world and its peoples develop sustainablty and equitably. Without language, we will lose to reach lingusitic and cutlural heritage and knowledge, much of which resides with the most disadvantaged and lingusitically diverse group of all, indigenous people. The speeches and talks echoed the central message that languages must be preserved and cherish and its role towards reaching important social and econmic goals must be recognized and brought to the front of the development and planning agendas.

Source: Nation

Language, Educaion and Millenium Development Goals Conference 2010

Right now there International Conference going on which brings nearly 400 participants from almost 30 countries from around the world. The three day event began today with a welcoming speech from the Prime minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva highlighting Thailands progress in Multilingual Education, particularily in the deep south.
The event is organized and funde by the Multilingual Work Group, consisting of UNESCO Bangkok, UNICEF, Save the Children, Asian Institute of Technology, Mahidol University, CARE, SEAMEO, ASPBAE. The event is held from November 9-11,2010 at the Twin Towers Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Golf Tournament proceeds to help Flood Victims

While the Bangkok Post article headline makes it seem like Tiger Woods actually donated his own money, if you read closely it is actually the proceeds from ticket sales to a golf tournament. Tiger Woods and Thongchai Jaidee presented the money to PM Abhisit. I’m sure that the presence of both golfers aided in bringing a large number of viewers which added in ticket sales. 

Woods donates money for flood victims

Published: 8/11/2010 at 11:00 AM Online news: Local News

US golfer Tiger Woods and Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee met Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the Government House on Monday to donate part of proceeds from the ticket sale of a golf tournament to help flood victims. They donated 2.2 million baht to help people affected by flooding in the country. Woods is among four players competing in “World Golf Salutes King Bhumibol Adulyadej,” a charity event in honour of His Majesty on Monday. The one-day skins golf event is held at a country club in Chonburi province. After his visit to the Government House, the former number one golfer went to the Siriraj Hospital to sign a get-well book to wish His Majesty a speedy recovery.

Source: Bangkok Post