This presentation was part of the Sombath Symposium on “Humanity and Nature: Traditional, Cultural and Alternative Perspectives”, the objective of which was to present and discuss knowledge and practice drawn from different cultures and traditions that can serve as an alternative foundation to the predominant growth-driven development model.
The Participatory Development and Training Center (PADETC), founded by Sombath, held its 2015 fair under the banner of “The Man, HIs Work, and His Dream for Laos,” on Friday, December 11th.
Approximatley one hundred friends, colleagues, CSO staff and diplomats attended the event, which included Buddhist prayers for Sombath, and comments from his spouse and colleagues.
May the fruits of his vision continue to grow.
A Thai PBS report on the event.
The Sombath Initiative is sponsoring a writing contest about issues in Laos. Any age or nationality can enter, but Lao youth are especially encouraged to apply.
Essays should be about any one of the following topics (Please select one topic only):
- Sustainable development in Laos
- Youth and education in Laos
- Civil society in Laos
Entries should be in either Lao or English, and between 500 to 1,000 words (approximately 2-3 pages) in length.
Three prizes will be awarded for both Lao and English (six total prizes):
- $300 for first prize
- $200 for second prize
- $100 for third prize
Following the philosophy of Sombath Somphone, essays that are positive and inspiring will be given preference over those that are critical or negative.
Winning essays will be posted on the website, Facebook and Google+ If contestants request, their name will not be included with the posting.
Entries must be sent to TheSombathInitiative@gmail.com no later than January 31st, 2016. Winning contestants will be notified by email.
Thank you, and we look forward to your thoughts!
As Somphone’s abduction highlights, attempts to redistribute power away from national governments towards community-identified needs is a highly politicised endeavour that can result in severe, and often violent, suppression. This is particularly so in non-democratic states. Yet it is not an unachievable shift. Indeed, while the post-2015 agenda has displayed a number of weaknesses in its attempts to encourage disparate viewpoints within the agenda-setting process, it nonetheless makes an explicit call for the advancement of such participatory approaches.
For this to occur, however, national governments, global development institutions and bilateral aid donors need to relax their current stature as the privileged interlocutors of development and become more supportive of community-oriented development agendas. It is not uniformity but diversity that holds the key to culturally sensitive development…
Kearrin Sims, in “Culture, community-oriented learning and the post-2015 development agenda: a view from Laos,” in Third World Quarterly, September, 2015.