It feels like I have been planning this course for ever! I first began toying with the idea of taking my students on a field trip to a conflict zone (of course not a violent conflict zone!) sometime after my first semester of teaching at MIIS. Nothing compares to having real world experience to supplement classroom discussions and readings. I had almost decided on Nepal when, a consulting trip to Cambodia in the summer of 2008, made me change my mind...Cambodia is simply, a fascinating country from the perspective of a person in the field of conflict resolution - a post genocide society - with many challenges that a variety of actors face in trying to rebuild and bring peace. A perfect case study for studying what peacebuilding entails on the ground.
I leave in a few hours for Bangkok en route to Cambodia. Some of my students are already in Bangkok, having traveled early for some fun before the work begins. In Bangkok we will be meeting different people to better understand the conflict in southern Thailand and the human traficking problem in the country. We will also certainly discuss the current political turmoil in Thailand.
Through this blog, we (13 students and I) hope to share with you our stories, experiences and pictures as individuals and as a group in Thailand and Cambodia.
After months of planning, strategising and an unbelievable amount of time spent on settling issues of logistics, I feel well prepared to start on the ground. We really are very organised but we are also ready to be as flexible as we need to be to adjust to complex and changing realities (We really could do without things like airport closure though....:)) Wish us luck and stay with us for the next two weeks. We promise some great stories and pictures.