CMU Uplands Program
researchers aid farmers
By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Agriculture works in
cooperation with Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany to run a
master’s and doctoral program for research into mountainous agricultural
researcher checks on lychee trees in the greenhouse. (Photo by Joachim E.
The Uplands Program was established in 2000 and operates
in Vietnam and Thailand, with Chiang Mai University, Kasetsart, Silpakorn
and Mae Jo Universities taking part, however, Chiang Mai is the main driver.
The goal of the program is not development work but training students and
generating knowledge that will promote sustainable agricultural practices in
mountainous regions. Funded by the German Research Foundation and the
National Research Council Thailand, the aim is to promote research in
agriculture in the fragile highlands eco-system studying the variations in
climate, soil and culture.
There are 14 different research projects in Germany and
10 in Thailand, ranging from soil erosion, pesticide use, sustainable
agriculture and the potential of economic incentives to reduce use, to
developing new partnerships for farmers.
There has been a focus on lychee and longan fruits in the
North as farmers begin replacing them with vegetables on steep slopes whose
propagation leads to more soil erosion. The annual glut of fruit results in
very low prices creating a disincentive to farmers to continue to grow them.
Researchers are working on attempts to spread lychee production over the
year. Other efforts involve getting farmers to work directly with the big
stores like Tesco Lotus and some have even started exporting overseas.
Another goal is to break the dependency on pesticide use
and the concomitant health issues that follow, studies are currently
underway to determine how much pesticide is used and how to encourage
farmers to use substitutions. To that end they have developed information
that is given to farmers to inform them of toxicity and substitutions.
Pesticides are not taxed so prices are low and in times of serious outbreaks
are distributed for free. Overuse of pesticides has also led to resistance
in many pests and many farmers, it is noted, are moving to other areas as
the insects become resistant and pesticide use no longer affects them.
The Uplands program provides the Saiwam Masters Program
in English at CMU and it is currently attended by an international body of
students. The program is encouraging more Thais however, so that foreign and
Thai students can interact.
Pepijn Schreinemachers noted that it is quite a popular
program for international students as it offers practical and hands on field
work in a diverse climate for students working on their theses. He added
that training students has been the most immediately satisfying aspect of
the program, and that many Thai students have graduated and now work at CMU.
Khon Kaen University President awarded Golden Garuda
By Phitsanu Thepthong
Hon. Prof. Dr. Sumon Sakolchai, the President of Khon
Kaen University (KKU) received the prestigious ‘Golden Garuda Award’ from
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on December 1, 2010. This Medal of Honor
Award’ is awarded by the Civil Service Association of Thailand to
outstanding university president in the country.
Prof. Dr. Sumon Sakolchai is here seen receiving his award for outstanding
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva presided over the
presentation ceremony of the Awards of Honor to Hon. Prof. Dr. Sumon and 9
other most outstanding government officials for the year 2007-2008. KKU
President Hon. Prof. Dr. Sumon received the award, as he was selected as one
of the 10 best government officials in civil service for university
president category. Hon. Prof. Dr. Sumon Sakolchai, President of Khon Kaen
University. He was the only one awarded the Golden Garuda as outstanding
Hon. Prof. Dr. Sumon Sakolchai, who has held the position
of KKU President for two terms, marking 8 years in office, has devoted
himself to helping develop the university into a world-class institute.
On December 3, 2010 the KKU personnel jointly held a
congratulation party to honor Hon. Prof. Dr. Sumon for winning the award at
Sirikunakorn Building, the Office of KKU President.
Chiang Mai’s First Buddhist Bi-lingual School
newly built hall at Panyaden School, the first bi-lingual Buddhist school,
is a unique design in building.
By Li Li Tan
160 parents, children and other visitors gathered at
Panyaden School in Hang Dong on a beautiful morning on 28 November to have a
glimpse into what Chiang Mai’s first Buddhist bi-lingual school will offer
its students when it opens in April 2011.
It was a day of fun and activities for the children who
were treated to interactive music and dance performances, enacted stories
about the dragon who refused to go to school; and other lively games like
building the tallest Bamboo Tower and playing with musical instruments made
out of bamboo and paper.
Their parents were also not left out. Besides
participating in the activities, they listened to the founder, Yodphet
Sudsawad and to Mr. Neil Amas (Co-Principal with Surangkana Tuatison) speak
in English and Thai about Panyaden School’s vision and core principles based
on Buddhist teachings.
The learning process at Panyaden School will include the
“5Es” which are “Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate”. These
will be taught in a peaceful and ecologically friendly environment built by
local craftsmen and minorities from the Northern hill tribes.
Panyaden School believes strongly in investing in people.
Its staff has been carefully selected for their skills, knowledge, mindset
and ability to work well with children. Hiring and training of the teachers
started in April 2010 and will continue until the school opens next year in
The School is also investing heavily in its curriculum
that has been specially designed with the help of experts in curriculum
development and Thailand’s leading spiritual advisor on Buddhist education,
the Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro. The curriculum uses creative and progressive
methods of delivery and teaching while meeting the Ministry of Education’s
For more details and enquiries, please visit http://www.panyaden.org/en
(Thai website: http://www.panyaden.org/th). Email [email protected] or call
School for the Blind
receives 250,000 baht
December 7th Pheunthai German International President for Thailand Wuttipong
Arayatumsopon and Thailandfreunde donated a further 250,000 baht to the
Northern School for the Blind, here the children, joined by Mr. Pramuan
Ploykamonchun receive the check from President Wuttipong and Dirk Weeber-Araytumsopon,
seen here in a wheelchair due to an accident at Suvarnabhumi airport from
which he has yet to recover fully. The children sang a song in Thai composed
especially for the occasion. In total, the school has received 600,000 baht
in cash donations and a further 150,000 in clothing and equipment from
Thailandfreunde. A new building, built from donations is expected to be
finished early next year. Dirk Weeber-Araytumsopon was informed that he will
receive an award from the Princess Galyani Foundation for his work with the
handicapped. (Photo courtesty of Thailandfreunde).