Ethnic Groups Network

The Ethnic Groups Network project currently has two major components. The first involves organizing trainings and workshops in collaboration with ethnic minority communities across Thailand to foster dialogue and understanding among ethnic groups themselves and in a larger social context. These activities provide spaces for interested communities to exchange experiences and develop strategies for strengthening relationships and networks and protecting livelihoods and cultural expressions.

The second component of the project relates to the “Special Cultural Zones” initiative. In 2010, the former Minister of Culture, Teera Salakphet, proposed two policies to designate “Special Cultural Zones” for Chao Lay and Karen communities in order to safeguard the cultures and livelihoods of these ethnic minority groups. Upon the approval of these policies, the SAC was appointed as Secretariat of the implementation and monitoring team for the Special Cultural Zones initiative. Responsibilities of the SAC include serving as assistant secretary; preparing meeting minutes, agendas, and proposals for the Ministry of Culture; and collaborating with provincial and central coordinating bodies when addressing complaints.

The SAC Secretariat team is currently engaging in field research to assess project progress. By speaking with community members in the Special Cultural Zones and highlighting the experiences and feedback of these individuals at planning meetings, researchers are contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the challenges these groups face and opening space for the community members themselves to take active roles in the initiative.

Research and results from the Special Cultural Zones project will be used to propose policies at the national level that protect livelihoods and cultures of ethnic minority groups, with the possible creation of ethnic identity promotion mechanisms and tribal councils.

For more information about this project, please contact Lidapan Janpimansuk (lidapan.j@sac.or.th) or Sarynya Khammuang (sarynya.k@sac.or.th).