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Towards A New Paradigm of Holistic Sustainability

3 September 2017 – 25 January 2018

Course Overview

This EDE was part of the second Awakening Leadership Training, a collaborative effort which took place from 3rd September 2017 – 6 January, 2018 (plus TOT from 9-25th January 2018) in Thailand. The EDE framework was integrated into this programme which expanded modules of learning with increased emphasis on self cultivation and social transformation. The 5 areas of learning were:

  • Interpersonal dynamics: Power sharing and compassion (Social Dimension EDE)

  • Self-discovery, healing and cultural integrity (Worldview Dimension EDE)

  • Ecology & Design (Ecological dimension plus Design in EDE)

  • Eco-political Economy ( Economics Dimension of EDE)

  • Skilful means for Social Transformation (Including Training of Trainers)

Over the 18 weeks, participants took a journey grounded in critical self awareness. Different forms of mindfulness and reflection were embedded into the daily rhythms of the programme. From this they learnt to be present, to understand themselves as a way to understand others and vice versa, and they gained the confidence and grounding to find their way forward. They got to spend time in nature, to explore their own inner healing, and practice diverse forms of inner inquiry. This all helped to bring awareness to a sense of interconnectedness, and the potential of many paths.

They learnt together and from each other, strengthened by their diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences. They built their own community of good friends and care over time together, and had the time and space to practice possibilities of what community can be and how it can transform society.


Overall, 116 participants joined at least one module of the training. Fourteen participants completed the core components of the EDE, from Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, India, Brazil, UK and USA. Two monks completed the course, while over 50% of participants were female (8 out of 14). The wider participants included China, with further participants coming from Thailand and Myanmar. Many of the participants were active in social realm in differing capacities, (lawyers, trainers/facilitators, NGO workers, environmental educators etc.), as well as a number of participants seeking direction in how to walk their path with sustainability and authenticity at its core (business sector, school teachers). Conventional educational levels ranged from participants with few years of schooling to PhD candidates, and ages ranged from 20 to over 60.There was also a wealth of diversity in the knowledge and experience from the many resource people and communities  that the participants learnt from and interacted with.

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Course Rhythms

Every day began with movement-based practices, and each learning day was introduced with half an hour of meditation together in the classroom, which the students also helped to lead. Learning sessions began with group re-caps of the previous days learning and reflection on the emotional energy of the group. Six-seven hours of study made up the rest of the learning timeframe, with another half hour of guided and self directed deep relaxation in the middle of the day. A new activity of journal writing was introduced for half an hour at the end of each day for this activity, to continue the flow of self awareness and reflection. Wellbeing circles were held intermittently, as a lot of reflective sharing also took place during modules.

The long-term group of students (14 pax) were given space to practice and experiment with self governance. They were handed responsibilities such as organising Hands-on work, writing up reflective articles for posting on social media, and teaching daily meditation practices. Having space for decision making and taking responsibility strengthened their own skills in social dynamics.

Half of the course was spent at Wongsanit Ashram, where participants stayed in separate accommodation and ate together in the communal dining hall. One month was spent in an indigenous Karen community in N Thailand, where participants stayed with families and ate together with them. Some participants also joined their daily livelihood activities on free days, which included communal rice cultivation and market gardening.

The final parts of the training included exposure visits in S Thailand, including homestay with local communities, deepening learning experiences through sharing daily lived reality of people and having the space for dialogue and sharing together.

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