A group of faith-based and indigenous organizations from across Asia launched online on Friday, July 30, a new institution dubbed the Asian School of Wisdom (ASW) that will be based in Thailand.
The new institution aims to shape “youthful and learning communities” that will live in “authentic dialogue-based partnership” with farming and indigenous communities in the region.
The aim is “to promote the holistic transformation of young Asian learners, within or outside formal educational institutions,” into “agents in an era of change for the world.”
The goal is to mobilize communities that will “engage with the power and promise of Asian wisdom in the service of the global commons … in (an) effort to build an equitable, just, and sustainable Asia.”
The institution said that through its partners and associates, it will reach out to young and vulnerable communities “for the creation of a hope-filled future.”
“It will be an effort to establish a just and green world filled with intergenerational love, faith, hope, justice and peace,” it added.
The institution is a product of “years of studies and experiences” of the Diocesan Social Action Committee in Thailand and its Research and Training Center for Religio-Cultural Communities (RTRC) in the Diocese of Chiang Mai.
The research center was set up “on the basis of our reflection on the experiences” drawn from the work of the center and the missionaries in the northern part of the country.
RTRC aims to empower people’s movements based on “religio-cultural values” of local communities and their beliefs in the guidance of nature and ancestral spirits, and the “Creator-Spirit.”
RTRC was officially established on January 16, 1999, as a Research and Training Center with a focus on the spiritualities and cultures of the indigenous peoples in the upper Northern part of Thailand, both living in the lowland and highland.
The research center has been involved in animating indigenous communities to participate in development and cultural initiatives.
In a statement ahead of the international launch on Friday, ASW said it “emerges from the ecology of ground experiences,” “critical pedagogy,” and inculturation processes developed by RTRC.
The ASW “domus,” or hub, which is located in Chiang Mai, was inaugurated by Bishop Francis Xavier Vira Arpondratana of Chiang Mai on July 2. It will serve as a “religio-cultural-spiritual enterprise,” read a statement from the organization.
The international online launch of the school was highlighted by messages from scholars across the region who spoke on various topics, including the “importance of wisdom in Asia” and the school’s collaboration with various faith partners.