Sadly, my amazing time at UNESCO Bangkok has come to an end, and as I reflected on my experiences, there are just so many wonderful moments, professionally, socially, and culturally to write about for my last blog. Continuing from my second blog, on July 11 and 12, I assisted my team, Non-Formal Education and Literacy, on a two-day workshop to launch an online course on lifelong learning and community learning centers. A short article I wrote about the event can be found here. This workshop allowed me to participate and co-facilitate two out of eight sessions, Finance Adult for Lifelong Learning and Good Governance System, an opportunity to advocate and educate over 50 Ministry of Education officials as well as non-governmental organizations’ representatives. The workshop advocates Asian-Pacific governments to create an equitable educational platform and policy to enhance lifelong learning, allocating adequate resources and funds to build new infrastructures and facilities, and to provide human resources and professional training among others.

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The launch of lifelong learning online course, and I am the one on the far right. Photo credit: Pornpilin Smithveja, UNESCO Bangkok staff

According to UNESCO, less than half of the governments worldwide spend less than one percent of their educational budget toward non-formal education and lifelong learning, and 63% out of 758 million adults worldwide who are illiterate live in Asia. This effortless governments’ commitment slowing down the progress toward achieving SDG 4, “inclusive and equitable education and…lifelong learning opportunities for all,” by 2030. Moreover, due to the rapid improvement of technological advances, millions of these illiterate people would not have opportunities to learn and equip with necessary skill sets to compete in the workforce. Therefore, the two sessions that I co-facilitated provided new innovative ways to implement education policies as well as approaches to secure and generate fund. This workshop allowed me engaged and learned from participants about their countries’ challenges and successes and efforts to collaborate with local, national, and international stakeholders across different levels of power to enhance systematic change and policies.

An update on my other three projects: my colleagues and I finished updating the assistive learning applications webpage on ATFLearning; I have revised and add more information on the lifelong learning chatbot, but it still need more works; and finally, I have collected sufficient materials on alternative education (non-formal education) for a colleague to support on-going projects with the Myanmar Alternative Education Department.

Beside my internship life, this second half of my summer I went to adventure in Chiang Mai and Phuket with a friend. Chiang Mai is full of diverse ethnic minority groups, vibrant cultures, and delicious food. There, I have visited many Buddhist temples, a Hmong village on the mountain, and hiked around the highest point of Thailand, Doi Inthanon. It was an amazing experience, especially visiting the Hmong village on the mountain, allowing me to reflect on my Hmong heritage and identity who grew up on the opposite side of the world, and to better understand their lifestyles and the unique Hmong culture and traditions that have evolved over time.  

 

Moreover, I visited an elephant sanctuary that work tirelessly to rescue elephants from abusive circus camps or riding camps. At the sanctuary, I fed and played with both baby and adult elephants, and mud bathing with these beautiful animals was my favorite part.

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Bathing with a baby elephant

In Phuket, my friend and I went on islands hopping around the Phi Phi Island area, and it was gorgeous. We went on snorkeling and just relaxing at different beautiful beaches. It was a great time, and I already miss Thailand! Until next time!

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Having a great time in Phuket!