Monk’s chanting is not very interesting to the young people. But at the same time the young monks are very active and they want to do something. So I think linking these dynamic monks with young people is important so that the young people can learn about cultural and spiritual aspects though actually doing the work.
The honorable Chief Justice Hilario Davide, trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, distinguished guests, fellow awardees, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
It is a great honor for me today to be here receiving the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, and I would like to sincerely thank the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and its board of judges for conferring on me this important award.
This award is not just for me or for my staff in PADETC. This award is also for our young Lao volunteers and youth leaders, who have demonstrated to us, the adults, that they have the capacity, and indeed the right, to claim the space to determine their own and their community’s development pathway. I believe that it is their passion and their hopes and dreams for a better future which are recognized and celebrated through this prestigious award today.
Sombath’s vision for sustainable development aims to foster respects for nature and humanity. He advocates for mindful education and inclusive development highlighting ordinary people, especially young people who are the potential of change.
It has been 4 years since the last time his family heard from him. The night of December 15, 2012 became a horrid silence that continues until today. For the past 4 years, family and friends of Sombath Somphone have called the Lao government and world leaders to bring forth Sombath’s whereabouts. Sadly, our leaders have failed us. We would like to reiterate the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights’s (APHR) question “If the Lao government really wants to solve Sombath Somphone case and is as concerned as the rest of us, then why is it blocking all possible avenues for the investigation?” (more…)
I have not written to you in a long time, since you disappeared. That hit me inside, in my heart. It made me wonder what I should do about my work, because you were always my role model, ever since I was a PADETC volunteer while in secondary school.
The first time I saw you was when you explained your work to a group of youth volunteers from Vientiane. At that time, Pui Duangkhae was the team leader mobilising volunteers who were interested in learning about the environment in Phu Khao Khwai. We met at the bamboo garden, and you and Uncle Outhin briefed us before we went to the park. Your words at that time greatly impressed me. You said we needed the forest, but the forest did not need us. Those words made me think that we must preserve and care for the forest, and it was the beginning of my journey as an environmental volunteer. We started by removing garbage from the steams in the Phu Khao Khwai Protected area in 1996. (more…)