Our educational approach is as important as the contents of the course, where learning, playing, working and meditating together in a community of practice, merges to foster compassion, intellectual understanding and social commitment Three pillars support the approach
Meditation, mindfulness practice and time in silence are integrated in to 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.
Students participate actively in the learning process and, together with other participants, contribute to the creation of the body of knowledge within a trusted community of learning, facilitated by skillful teachers. This includes the 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.
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.
5 Dimensions of Sustainability
The complete ALT learning journey covers five key integrated areas of learning:
1. Emerging Worldview, Self Discovery and Healing (EDE worldview dimension)
2. Interpersonal Dynamics: Power Sharing & Compassion (EDE social dimension)
3. Eco-political Economy – From Global to Local (EDE economic dimension)
4. Ecology & Ecovillage Design (EDE ecology & design dimension)
5. Skillful Means for Social Transformation
EMERGING WORLDVIEW, SELF DISCOVERY AND HEALING
(EDE worldview dimension)
The multi-dimensional crises human beings are facing in the contemporary world demand a fundamental change of the mindset that creates them. The European Enlightenment paradigm that has been dominating the world in the last few hundred years is under serious re-assessment and inquiry from East and West, North and South. Humans and other living beings have been facing serious crises across the globe for decades: climate change and the increasing rate of natural disasters, ecological destruction, violent conflicts between nations and groups, poverty and hunger, loneliness and meaninglessness in modern life, etc.
for dynamic leaders for change in the 21st century
Become less self-centred, more confident yet humble, more trustful and more careful, committed to working for our fragile world while knowing how to take good care of yourself.
Reduced self-centeredness, gain unconditional confidence, and have the ability to overcome inner challenges through self-healing
More courageous, gentle and able to dance with the rhythms of the universe
Ability to walk the talk and walk in the corridors of power and wealth without being corrupted
Increased aptitude to focus and be in the present moment in difficult situations
Increased wisdom, compassion and deep caring for the victims of social injustice and environmental destruction
Strong motivation to work for change, including the root causes of injustice and ecological crisis
Ability to critically comprehend the present global political economy and articulate alternative regenerative structures
Ability to identify causes and conditions for the present ecological crisis and ways of moving toward a more sustainable and resilient future
Knowledge to differentiate and discern the pros and cons of important social movements of the past and present
Ability to apply diverse frameworks of analysis
Ability to use participatory approaches to facilitate meetings, discussions, organize communities and build networks to create social movements
Skills to manage community-based projects and organisations to build social movements
Practical experience of sustainable community-led initiatives
Regular mindfulness practice in daily life working with one’s own emotions and relationships
Skills to prevent unnecessary conflicts with nonviolent communication and empathy as well as gaining the ability to facilitate conflict transformation and resolution when needed.
Our study locations
The learning environment is an important factor in the learning experience. The learning sites are diverse, and provide a contemplative atmosphere that is so important to digest the learning. Locations themselves offer new and contextual learning, and help participants to embody that learning beyond intellectual understanding. Utilising location and landscape as part of the classroom are powerful ways for participants to interact, learn from, and explore over time their relationships with the environment and communities around them.
The ALT learning journey is designed to take place in different locations in order to expand the learning beyond the classroom, and make it relevant to the surrounding environment, people and socio-political context.
Some of our past learning classrooms included:
Wongsanit Ashram is the main learning campus for the ALT programme. It was founded in 1984 by social activist Sulak Sivaraksa and colleagues, as a spiritual activist community devoted to developing and promoting a model of sustainable living that is grounded in engaged spirituality, cultural diversity and environmental integrity.
BOR NOK BEACH
Our regular classroom for the final workshop of Mindful Facilitation for Empowerment is located at the small, beachfront oasis. This family-run resort managed by social activists is situated in the community of Bornok around fifteen minutes from the nearest town, Kuiburi.
PA TUENG NGAM
The village of Pa Tueng Ngam has been the host site for our Ecological learning dimension. Surrounded by protected community forest, the village is indigenous Karen, who maintain deep cultural, spiritual and livelihood connections to the natural world. We organise home-stays with families within the village, and learn from the community as practitioners of ecological knowledge, skills and wisdom.
Additionally, we often take experiential learning visits to communities in the Northeast and Southern areas of Thailand.