Awakening Leadership Training

Towards A New Paradigm of Holistic Sustainability

3 September 2019 – 3 February, 2020

Empowering & Deepening Ecovillage Design Education

If you need more energy to be part of the transformative social change movement, if you are in a transitional stage in your life, if you want to enhance your leadership capacity, if you want to deepen the meaning in your life, if you are confused and not sure of what to do next, this learning journey is for you.


It is a pilgrimage to learn deeply about yourself, the present society and our natural world. It is a journey to build and cultivate good friends, compassion and wisdom, humility and confidence. It is a dance to explore the dynamic balance of Yin and Yang in many aspects of life. It is an inspirational voyage of practical alternatives at various levels.


“Five months ago, I decided to rethink the way I lived and I joined the ALT program in Thailand. A simple life but full of meaning. I had the opportunity to meet very inspiring people, who led me to reflect a lot about what I knew about the world, and especially about myself. There were several theories, thinkers, techniques, tools, practices and more … and lots of fun.

I learned to listen, to express myself, to be present, to have compassion, not to judge myself so much and even learned to change sides.

 I connected with nature….I found peace in silence, fasting and meditation. Ah! I learned to meditate: standing, sitting, walking, praying and even washing dishes.

I met people and fell in love with their way of thinking, willpower, humbleness, courage, sincerity, honesty, wisdom, and all goodness in heart – people who live their lives helping other people.

 I created a circle of friends and after so much laughter and crying together, they became my family.”

Mariana Koutaka, Brazil


  • Serious meditation and mindfulness learning and practice are combined with rigorous intellectual inquiry into the complexity of the self and the world combined with how to transform both to be more wholesome and sustainable.
  • Participants will participate actively in the learning process, contribute meaningfully in learning outcomes, and interact with some of the foremost-experienced teachers/facilitators in each field of study.
  • Learning, playing, working and meditating will be merged into one process in this course to develop compassion, wisdom, intellectual understanding and social commitment.


People in transition in their lives and/or in various leadership roles who want to train oneself to awaken and serve others. You may:

  • Work or lead an NGO and a need a break for reflection on the nature of life and society so that you can return to work rejuvenated.
  • Work in non-profit organisations and other social change organisations and feel the need for more self-cultivation and deep reflection on social issues.
  • Work for social change and want to gain more unconditional trust in the universe, reduce self-centeredness and freely dance with life.
  • Want to become a mindful facilitator, helping people to empower themselves
  • Want to positively change society and yourself simultaneously for personal growth and a more sustainable, socially just future.
  • Be questioning your current path in life
  • Be searching for meaning in life

The course is designed and will be facilitated by accomplished, experienced facilitators/teachers with decades of experience teaching new paradigm leadership empowerment courses in Southeast Asia, China and UK. This program is a collaborative venture of SEM – Spirit in Education Movement, International Network of Engaged Buddhists and ETA – Ecovillage Transition Asia, in partnership with Gaia Education and Global Ecovillage Network (GEN).


Our educational approach is as important as the content of the course, where learning, playing, working and meditating together in a community of practice merge in order to develop compassion, intellectual understanding and social commitment.

During the course you will learn to know and love yourself, to deepen relationships with others. You will be able to analyse society and act wisely for change, while reconnecting with nature and working for sustainability. Furthermore you will be trained to unlearn and relearn to make your life and contribution relevant, meaningful, and rooted in ancient wisdom while being resilient in the present.

Three pillars support the approach:

Contemplative: Meditation, mindfulness practice and time in silence are integrated into the learning experience as a foundational aspect of self-cultivation. By knowing ourselves deeply with acceptance, we can bring a compassionate perspective to how we engage with the world around us. Right mindfulness is the most important key factor for awakening.

Participative: Students participate actively in the learning process and, together with other participants contribute meaningfully to the body of knowledge within a trusted community of learning facilitated by skilful teachers/facilitators. This includes sharing of authority and responsibility among the learning community created during this course, and where power sharing and collaboration contribute to empowerment at individual and collective levels.

Reflective: Participants learn to look at issues from various perspectives and develop critical and systematic thinking skills. Rigorous analytical thinking and reflecting both individually and collectively on issues and experiences is a key part of the learning process. We emphasize learning how to unlearn and relearn as it is a critical component of moving towards a new paradigm.

Daily mindfulness practice, participatory learning, critical thinking and enjoyment are woven together holistically during this journey of learning. There is time for rest and reflection as well as play and creativity.