Effecting Change in Thailand: Military Coup? Representation? Civic Action?

 The Ateneo Center for Asian Studies (ACAS) and the Department of Political Science
cordially invite you to a symposium on

Effecting Change in Thailand: Military Coup? Representation? Civic Action?

By Mr. Chaiwat Thripantu

February 20, 2007, Tuesday
at 12:00-1:20 P.M.,
at CTC 105


Mr. Chaiwat Thirapantu, API (Asian Public Intellectual) and ACAS (Ateneo Center for Asian Studies) fellow, is the author of "Chaos Theory and the Siam Society at the Cross Roads"(1994), one of the best-selling books in Thailand. He is editor of "Quo Vadis Thailand?"(1999), a collection of Thai key informants' visions for Thailand. He is the founder and President of CIVICNET Institute, a non-governmental organization network, which seeks to promote civil society in Thailand. He currently acts as the coordinator of Bangkok Forum.

From 1986 to 1989 he was an active member of CAP (Community Action Party), trying to facilitate social change through a representative political process. He realized, however, that a representative political process cannot lead to a positive participatory change in Thailand. Thus, Mr. Thirapantu founded Bangkok Forum in 1994, a non-profit civic group aimed at revitalizing old communities in Bangkok. For this, he was awarded the 1994 "Public Innovator" Asoka Fellow and Bangkok Forum got the 1996 ESCAP Award for its innovative approach in engaging citizens for urban management.

In the mid 1990s Mr. Thirapantu applied a number of public participatory tools and techniques, such as Future Search Conference (FSC) and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to involve local community members in making collective decisions for the betterment of the society. He also organized a number of public seminars and special events to encourage local communities to make participatory decisions on local and national issues.

Mr. Thirapantu has traveled extensively, speaking to the public on various topics, ranging from civil society, systems theory, chaos theory, participatory project planning, and participatory community development. He has conducted training workshops for community leaders, community members, and key stakeholders on various topics, ranging from healthy city projects, change agent skills, principles and practices of civic innovators, communication and team building. On October 8 and 9, 2004, using "appreciative inquiry" and "world cafe" methodology, he facilitated a conference, "People Assembly in Thailand." Three thousand people attended it.