OverviewIn September 2019, BEYOND Tomorrow Asia Summer Program 2019 was organized in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Select 8 students experienced the rapid economic growth in Bangkok and Singapore, and also engaged in volunteer activities and home-stays with hill tribe minorities and local students in northern Thailand. Under the theme of supporting people’s autonomy, the participants thought about what they could do for the future of Asia, a region comprised of people with diverse backgrounds. – Administered by Global Fund for Education Assistance – Supported by EXPO’70 FUND KANSAI OSAKA 21st Century Association – In cooperation with Sikha Asia Foundation; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Department of Foreign Languages, Phayao University – Program venues Tokyo, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia – Participants 8 students enroled in BEYOND Tomorrow’s annual scholarship program
Tokyo – orientation on September 1
To deepen the understanding on the site, the participants learned about the concept of supporting one’s autonomy from Keiko KIyama, an expert on international aid. They also visited the Japan Office of Ban Rom Sai, an NPO running an orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and got an understanding of the history and activities in Thailand.
Thailand – Asia’s economic growth and local communities on September 2- 10
The participants visited Bangkok, Thailand, and visited Japanese Embassy in Thailand and international organizations to learn about different aspects of Thai society. After feeling the economic energy of the capital, they moved to northern Thailand. In the north, they met with local people at student dormitories for hill tribe minorities, local orphanages, kindergartens, University of Phayao, etc. and conducted field work in local communities to think about how to support people’s autonomy. In particular, they stayed overnight at student dormitories for hill tribe youths and also experienced home-stay in hill tribe villages to learn the hill tribe way of living first-hand.
Singapore and Indoesia – Wrap-up on September 11 – 13
In Singapore, the participants organized their learning in Thailand and discussed how to address the issues they had found under the theme of supporting local people’s autonomy. In the offices of Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore, the participants made a presentation in front of the professionals working there and had a discussion with them. As the finale, the participants had a moment of reflection in Indonesia, and talked about how to apply the learning from the experience towards the future.
“I was privileged with opportunities to engage in dialogue with so many people during the program, such as Japanese professionals in Thailand, Thai university students, hill tribe minority children, people living in a slum, staff of aid agencies, etc.. I was struck to see such a diverse range of people living in one country and also felt a wall among them. As the social gap continues to expand in the world, there is no one equation for all – that is what I learned in the program.”
Raku Tsubouchi School of Foreign Studies, Osaka University (Graduate of Imabari Nishi High School, Ehime Prefecture)
Yuriko Okabayashi Faculty of Economics, Kagawa University (Graduate of Tosa High School)