Democratization Intensive Course - Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP)

Democratization Intensive Course


The Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies Master of Arts Human Rights International Program held a joint "Democratization Intensive" with the University of Sydney Master of Human Rights and Democratization (MHRD) program from 5-10 January 2015. The intensive explored how the right to democracy is promoted and protected in the Asia Pacific region. It focused on what organizations, parties, people, and stakeholders do to improve and increase the level of democracy at local and national levels. Relevant issues to democracy in the Asia Pacific such as gender, minorities, and election monitoring were discussed in-depth. Students gained an understanding of why democracy is seen as an important political configuration, as well as applying knowledge, gained from the course, of ways in which democracy can be supported through practical activities.

Students engaged in discussion with Dr. Pusadee Tamthai
from the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.
IHRP students attending a lecture at The United Nations Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) offices in Bangkok.

Some of the Democratization Sessions included:
  • Workshops on non-violent protest and election monitoring
  • Challenges for democracy and democratization in Southeast Asia
  • Gender and democracy
  • Democracy activities at the United Nations

Presentation given by a representative from Children of
the Forest, an organization that advocates for the needs of stateless children located near the Thai-Burma border.

Faculty and students meeting with representatives from a Mon community.
Sessions were facilitated by IHRP faculty as well as:
  • National Democratic Institute, Thailand
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Authority
  • Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
  • European Union Embassy, Bangkok
  • Burma Centre for Ethnic Studies
  • The Nation, weekly journal

Reinforcing fruitful discussions, students took part in a weekend long fieldtrip to Sangklaburi where they engaged with local Mon minority activists working on such issues as access to education, local governance, and political participation.  This visit was facilitated by the Human Rights Foundation of MonLand and the Thai Border Authorities.

The Democratization Intensive was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union and as part of the Global Human Rights Campus of Regional Master Programmes and Diplomas, managed by EIUC.