With the second-largest economy in ASEAN, Thailand is one of the most dynamic countries in Southeast Asia. But over the past decade, despite reaching upper middle-income status, Thailand has faced slowing economic growth, declining foreign investment, and political instability. With growing concerns about trade, education, inequality, and the environment, the Royal Thai Government is moving forward on several major reform initiatives, government programs, and new investments. Thailand is also in the midst of a major political transition, with elections scheduled in early 2019. Meanwhile, the conflict in the southernmost provinces continues, with prospects for a peaceful settlement elusive.
TechCamp promotes peace and dialogue
Like the rest of the world, Southeast Asia has seen the dark side of social media, and in May 2017 our Thailand office, with funds from the U.S. State Department, organized TechCamp Thailand: Promoting Peace and Dialogue with Technology. We convened technology experts and 60 young social activists from Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia to explore technology-enabled strategies to promote tolerance and reduce online disinformation and hate speech. Small follow-on grants allow participants to take their ideas from concept to implementation. The program is already generating spin-offs in Thailand’s conflict-affected southern provinces, including a Mini-TechCamp in Pattani.
NEWS FROM THAILAND
Peace Agenda of Women
We support Peace Agenda of Women (PAOW), a movement of dynamic women who have come together to advocate for peace in the country’s tense Deep South. Last year, we helped the movement support the unfolding peace process here, including raising public awareness of violence against women and children as soft targets. The movement has increased their collective influence on the process, by bringing together 23 civil society organizations, from both ethnic communities. Our support is helping PAOW to promote a peaceful solution to the conflict, and strengthen the capacity of women’s advocacy networks.
HIGHLIGHTS ACROSS ASIA
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