School for wellbeing
School for wellbeing



Chulalongkorn University Right Livelihood Summerschool CURLS – in collaboration with the Wellbeing Studies Programme

Chulalongkorn University Right Livelihood Summerschool CURLS – in collaboration with the Wellbeing Studies Programme

Annual two-week summer school with modules at Wongsanit Ashram, field research and at Chulalongkorn University (CU). Including the annual Right Livelihood Public Lecture by a Right Livelihood Award who also conducts a workshop. CURLS including academic exchanges, critical dialogue and art work. The partners of the Wellbeing Studies Programme are CU, Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), Right Livelihood College (RLC) and the Sathirakoses Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF). 

Towards Organic Asia TOA

Towards Organic Asia TOA – agroecology and mindful markets network
TOA was initiated by Right Livelihood Award laureate Vandana Shiva on her visit to Thailand in 2010. She engaged with grassroot activists and gave a lecture on Earth Democracy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized by the School for Wellbeing. The mission of the TOA network is Organic Food for All. TOA Coordinator is Narumon Paiboonsittikun (Mon).
TOA is governed by an Executive Committee and by means of annual Partner Meetings with 24 independent partners in the Mekong region. Core partner of the organisations are based in: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Partners in Bhutan represent the connections with the Himalayan region. The Mekong River springs from the Tibetan Plateau. The Mindful Markets programme operates with partners Asia- wide from e.g.: Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Bangla Desh etc.

The TOA programme is implemented by four working groups:

1.1 Capacity building and Young Organic Farmers (YOF)

Annual YOF gatherings rotate over Mekong countries and Bhutan. Young Organic Farmers self-organize and meet at their farms, exchange experiences, future vision and motivation. A series of video films of young organic farmers in the Mekong region has been produced by TOA (sponsored by ALiSEA).

1.2 Technical Support and Exchange – TOA Organic Seeds project
Partners are in the process of forming a consortium or alliance and propose a regional organic seeds production project to donors. The regulatory seeds framework in most countries is complex and hostile to the interests of small-scale farmers. The project will have as its focal point the module on organic seeds production of the new BSc course in organic agriculture to be conducted from September 2019 onwards (in English) at the College of Natural Resources (CNR), Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), including collaboration among seed producers in Bhutan. Its broader aim is networking, seeds exchanges and empowerment of organic seed producers in the Mekong region, Bhutan, and neighbouring countries.

1.3 Action-research and Advocacy

Under the auspices of TOA, research was conducted and exchange meetings were held on: land issues and comparison of organic versus chemical farming in terms of wellbeing impact. The series included a professional workshop conducted by Right Livelihood Award laureate Hans R. Herren with participation support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB); design of wellbeing impact indicators along the model of the GNH Index; multi-stakeholder dialogue on agriculture policy development including national planning institutes. A French intern, supported by CCFD – Terre Solidaire – the major supporter of the TOA partnership – conducted a one year literature research on organic agriculture policy development in the Mekong region + Bhutan. In Myanmar a preliminary country assessment was undertaken in collaboration with a diversity of partners. 

1.4 Mindful Markets and consumer education

If we want to make our local and global food systems sustainable, we have to create a new economy based on “mindful markets”. This implies: direct collaboration between local producers and consumers, where needed mediated by social enterprises.
An Asia-wide partnership is emerging. It aims at sustainable, just and inspired rural–urban dynamics. In particular the Seikatso Club Cooperative Union in Japan, Hansalim in Korea and the Rural Regeneration & Green Development network in China provide convincing examples of local consumer-producer collaboration out-scaled to national and international organisations. An important supporter of the movement in China is the Partnership for Community Development (PCD), Hongkong. GRAIN is an important partner organisation

The Mindful Markets programme consists of two annual activities: 
  • Mindful Markets Asia Forum
  • Mindful Markets social enterprise (SE) course
The Mindful Markets Asia Forum provides a platform for professional and vision exchanges for actors in sustainable food systems.
The Mindful Markets social enterprise course brings persons together from all over Asia who are active – as start-ups or in a more advanced stage – in social entrepreneurship related to sustainable food systems. Together they analyse major obstacles and opportunities in the sector and co-design their localized business plans for improvement and out-scaling.

New Spirit

The New Sprit project was initiated by the School for Wellbeing as an outcome of the visit to Thailand of physicist Arthur Zajonc, former President of the Mind and Life Institute, at the invitation of the school. Arthur Zajonc is the author of a series of books of which several were translated into Thai language. Some of his books on education are co-authored with the well-known USA educator Parker Palmer, who wrote remarkable bestsellers on his own. Another person who inspires the project is Peter Senge and his book Schools That Learn.  A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education. From this inspiration the project, under the leadership of well-known trainer Nuttarote Wangwinyoo, is focusing on the empowerment of people active in the educational profession who wish to bring about change: humanizing the outdated, rigid and authoritarian education system in Thailand. The project is managed by Suan Nguen Mee Ma social enterprise.

Visit New Spirit:

Earth Trusteeship Platform

A new innovative impulse emerged from the 2011 School for Wellbeing international gathering: Re-thinking Property. Towards a Wellbeing Society? The gathering was organized at Chulalongkorn University in the framework of growing interest in “the commons” movement and the academic legacy of Nobel Prize Laureate and economist Elinor Ostrom, an economist. Silke Helfrich and Michel Bauwens of the Commons Strategy Group, Nicanor Perlas, Right Livelihood Award Laureate from the Philippines, Dasho Karma Ura, Bhutan and Sombath Somphone, PADECT, PDR Laos were among the resource persons. As a follow-up small-scale research projects on land issues in Thailand were undertaken. Collaboration with the Indian land rights movement was established:’ Ekta Parishad founder Rajagopal PV delivered the Gandhi Memorial Lecture organized by CU Indian Studies Center. 
All this triggered a chain of events including a meeting with Judge Christopher Weeramantry, co-founder of the World Future Council and Right Livelihood Award Laureate 2007, at his residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The visit resulted in the informal inauguration, initiated by the School for Wellbeing, of the Earth Trusteeship Platform, July 2017, the Netherlands, during the international conference organized by Utrecht University Practicing the Commons. Self-governance, cooperation, and institutional change.
After a preparatory meeting at Elisabeth Vreede House, The Hague, June 2018, the first Earth Trusteeship Forum was held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, in the framework of “70 Years Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. The “Hague Principles” and the Earth Trusteeship Initiative were launched.