• Published Date: 12/08/2021
  • by: UNDP

The Untold Stories of the Ethnic Youths


The Dialogues with the Ethnic Youths on the Occasion of the International Youth Day 2021

One-third of the world’s population are children and youth. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which many countries in the world are committed to achieving by 2030 or only ten years from now, might not be attained if we do not include the youth, who will become the majority of the future population.

Even though we can achieve all 17 SDGs, does it mean that sustainable development is realized? The answer can be yes or no because the core of sustainable development is not just a matter of what, but how is also crucial for achieving sustainable development. More importantly, we should question the development process whether it is inclusive and leads to beneficial results for all. Does our development leave anyone behind? Leave No One Behind is, therefore, the heart of sustainable development.

Who is left behind? We may think of people who live in remote areas, with limited access to infrastructure or stateless people who do not have access to basic welfare. We may also picture disabled people with limited access to transportation, education opportunities, and proper education equipment or methods, or poor people in the cities who lack economic opportunity, or even LGBTQ persons who are deprived of opportunities to take certain roles in society. And the list goes on. Why are they forgotten in the development?

They are deprived of these opportunities because of their identities, such as ethnicity, gender, age, body, place of residence, etc. These are the things that hinder access to equal opportunities. Everybody has these identities. However, have we ever considered these factors in terms of how they affect our everyday life?

The Online Youth Dialogue on Leave No One Behind activity consists of four dialogues that invited young people to become acquainted with vulnerable groups often left behind based on their identities. There are four dialogues: the dialogue with the ethnic youth, the dialogue with the youth from coastal communities, the dialogue with the LGBTQ youth, and the dialogue with the youth with disabilities. This activity is based on the belief that a space for discussion or a place where we get to know each other, make friends, and ask questions to understand each other’s lifestyles, identities, and needs, is the beginning of an inclusive society.

A relaxing discussion group for young people is a space to reflect on how our identities can impact our everyday life, shine the light on one’s vulnerabilities and those of others,  and embrace diversity in a society where everybody respects one another.

On the occasion of the International Youth Day 2021, below is a part of the Dialogues with Ethnic Youths which narrates the untold stories of the ethnic youth.


1. As ethnicity is related to access to citizenship, it hampers one’s access to opportunities.   

Ethnicity does not exist on its own; it is also related to another factor: citizenship. Many tribal young people are questioned about their citizenship. As there are many different ethnic groups, including those who live in remote areas, many do not acquire their citizenship by birth. Instead, they have to apply for Thai citizenship, a process that takes many years. As a result, many tribal young people have the status of stateless persons, which hampers many opportunities, such as basic welfare and traveling. Being young, they are supposed to learn about themselves and discover the world but they are allowed to travel only within their province. Their education and career opportunities are also limited. Without Thai citizenship, the stateless youth cannot choose certain careers, and they may not be able to choose an occupation in their fields of study. These are the obstacles that the stateless youth encounter. Despite being born in Thailand, they do not have an identity, right, and a chance to design a life they truly want.

Being stateless also causes other minor problems to the ethnic youth who have to adapt to society. For example, some stateless young people do not have a surname, and they have to repeatedly answer the same questions about why they do not have a surname. They are also teased by their peers, making them feel different from everybody else and unworthy because they do not have Thai citizenship. These problems lead to the stateless youth feeling alienated from society.

This is the story that Suchart, a Shan youth, shared with his peers in the discussion group. Even though he has not been granted Thai citizenship and has been in the application process for over ten years, with many of his friends and family members facing the same problem, Suchart has come up with a creative solution. He created Titang Facebook page to be a space for educating and helping stateless persons so that they have access to the rights, welfare, and citizenship application process. He hopes that someday the society will acknowledge and understand the experience of stateless people and make a change in the system so that everybody in Thailand has equal access to rights and welfare.


2. The tribal youth and their hybrid lifestyle

If we talk about tribes, we may picture people living in communities with unique ways of life and tribal cultures. But do you know that in reality, many young people no longer live in their communities and start to question their identity as a tribe? This is the story of Nam, an Akha young woman. She told us that she remembered living with her grandmother and the diversity of local plants used to create various dishes. As she grew up, many young people in the tribe needed to leave their village to receive formal education. When they graduated and returned to the village, they discovered that much of their way of life and local resources had been lost. Growing up in cities brings about various experiences, and they have to reflect on their identity and self as the tribal youth. Nam’s childhood memory is closely linked to local resources. So she decided to do Seed Journey activity, which started tourism activities and invited chefs to learn about local seeds in the community. Through this activity, people in the community see the value of biodiversity and create new dishes from resources in the community to add value to local resources.

When we talk about the tribal youth today, the word may no longer connote young people who have grown up in communities that are totally separated from cities, but now it means young people who integrate local wisdom with modern knowledge, perspective, and technology from their experience in cities. Sometimes this leads to self-reflection and the adaptation and evolution of tribal wisdom so that it coherently exists in the modern world.


3. Karen people whose way of life does not always equal rotational farming and weaving

If we talk about Karen ethnic group, we may think about a way of life intertwined with the forest, such as rotational farming, an all-year abundance of food, or the unique hand-weaving that uses resources in the community. In the discussion group, Siri, a Lao-Isaan young woman who grew up in a Karen family, said that the reality is not always like the stereotype. The Karen community in Mae Sam Laep, Mae Hong Son Province, which is her family’s community, has been ravaged by border wars that have caused them to migrate so many times. They, therefore, cannot settle down and do rotational farming like the picture we might have had in mind. Moreover, the terraces in the area are not suitable for rotational agriculture. As they are forced to escape from wars all the time, the local way of life and wisdom faded away and are replaced by problems, such as problems regarding standards of living, domestic violence, education, etc. Covid-19 pandemic even exacerbates the existing problems. Siri and her friends, therefore, initiated the Rainbow Textile project to create jobs for women. The rainbow-colored design also raises awareness about gender diversity among people in the community; an issue that is still new to the community.

However, weaving has not been easy for Mae Sam Laep women because women in the community had lost their weaving skills due to migration and occupation changes. They needed to take a long time to revive the skills. Siri and her friends had to travel to other provinces to learn to weave and came back to teach women in the community (the women cannot be brought out of the province to learn to weave because they are stateless, making inter-provincial travel difficult). However, women in the community could earn income for the first time from these rainbow-colored textile products. The women are empowered to be equal to men, who are usually the breadwinners. Also, when people wish to buy the rainbow-colored textiles to support gender diversity, people in the community are made aware of gender diversity in society.


Ethnicity – the identity we all have

These are a few of the untold stories of the tribal youth, which were shared in the ethnic youth dialogues so that other young people could learn about different ways of life in various aspects. Also, everybody exchanged their perspectives about their respective ethnic identities; how the ethnic identities impact their everyday life in multiple dimensions, such as food, traveling, education, interests, belief, love, etc. We can see how ethnicity creates diversity: things that we like, such as food, the feeling of attachment to different ways of life, or different access to opportunities, such as traveling and education. We have also discovered that sometimes our difference in ethnicity is not an obstacle that separates us; we still share the same favorite food, other interests, and our mutual dream for society.

Ethnicity might be a factor that contributes to some people being left behind. Still, if we realize that ethnicity is merely an identity that we all have and if we recognize the impacts of our ethnicity, we may see the gap of inequality within the development. If we understand that ethnic diversity is normal in a society, we may look for innovations for development that can access everybody.


Learn more about the stories of Ethnic People in Thailand at www.you-me-we-us.org

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  • Published Date: 27/12/2019
  • by: UNDP

‘Local Chef’s to Peace Project’ make peace between Thai-Buddhist, Muslim and Thai-Chinese in the South though local food.


In the midst of South Thailand insurgency, many departments are finding solutions to end the conflict including this group of youth from the South ; Phadlee Tohday, Arafa Buerangae, Iskanda Kuno, Tarmeesee Anansai, the winner from Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019 competition. They are determined to change disagreements into peace among the turmoil in the South between  Thai-buddhist, Muslim and Thai-Chinese using local food.



We want everyone to understand diversity and live peacefully

Local Chef’s to Peace Project : We see the problems of local people in the South. We know that they don’t understand each others in the deeper dimension of life such as cultures, society, food and living. Therefore, we came up with solution to bond their living together through our project called ‘Local Chef’s to Peace Project’


A food which creates peace

Local Chef’s to Peace Project : We picked out an issue about eating culture in the South. Because we found out that the differences of eating culture can make people in the area feel distant and might lead to bigger trouble like discrimination. So, if we can make one dish out of several religions, everyone can have a meal together worries-free.


Bond relationship and embrace diversity with “Ashure”

Local Chef’s to Peace Project : We chose “Ashure” because it’s a dessert that is mixed from several dishes and stirred thoroughly until the mixture is homogenous just like “Piakpoon” (black coconut sweet pudding). Traditionally, we set a day to make the dessert together in the village. On the day, everyone has to bring ingredients they have at home and help each other stir the pudding. So, we can say that the process harmonises everyone no matter what religion they are.


Food alone can’t stop all the conflicts, but at least, it can be a practice.

Local Chef’s to Peace Project : Food alone can’t stop all the conflicts, but at least, the food that we presented can be a bond that connects people from different areas, a practice to live together, to exchange experiences and most importantly to understand each other more.


People trusting each other is the dream we expect to become true.

Local Chef’s to Peace Project : We hope to see society that trusts one another,,, society that doesn’t have any kinds of discrimination. At last but not least we wish that everyone could live peacefully without suspicions and hatred.


The feeling to be part of the programme.

Local Chef’s to Peace Project : When the announcement came out that we are gonna be part of the programme, we felt super excited. Because we’re sure there’s something to look forward to. And after we attended the programme, we enjoyed it so much. We’ve met friends with the same interests and exchanged so many good experiences to each other.

And to accept the first price, it’s more than words to explain our feelings. We were never this happy in our life. First thing we know is that, we’ve broken the wall of expectations from people back at home, from our close one , and also from ourselves. Every team claps for us… it was the feeling of ultimate joy.


#UNDP #UCxUNDP #RespectDifferences #EmbraceDiversity #YouthCoLab2019
#YouthCoLabThailand #PVE #PreventingViolentExtremism #SocialInnovatio #SDGs
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  • Published Date: 04/12/2019
  • by: UNDP

Lessons from “National Dialogue”: Live with Understandings and Stop Hate Speech

Youth Co:Lab has opened up new experiences for youths from across the country, who attended the event on 1-3 November 2019. The 10 teams had an opportunity to discuss initiatives on how youths can contribute to conflict prevention and how to live with understandings and diversity. They also had an opportunity to be part of a “National Dialogue,” to discuss the findings from the report on the situation of “Inter-faith Relationships in Thai Society” under the theme “Embracing Diversity.” In the past few years, we have witnessed a rise in tensions between people with diverse identities, cultures, and religions, particularly in an online world. Social media has played a significant part in amplifying these tensions and hatred, which sometimes spilled over into an offline space.

In 2019, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has collaborated with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC) to assess the extent of online hate speeches by investigating the use of languages, communications, and the expression of opinions on social media. The goal is to foster a better understanding about the situation in order to come up with appropriate measures that can prevent the spread of hatred and violence in Thai society through embracing the culture of acceptance and respect for diversity.

The dialogue centered around a paradigm of hatred in Thai society. Representatives from several sectors participating in the dialogue, including government, private sector, civil society, academia, media, and youths.

During the dialogue, the findings from the study were presented to participants. Four key takeaways were drawn from the study of “Hate Speech in Social Media.”

01 Four levels of hate speech

This report used the methodology of text mining in online platforms, such as Facebook, in order to collect information that was then used to classify 4 types of hate speech, including:

  1. Expressing intense dislike: Create stereotypes and allies against opposite beliefs

e.g., we’re not like them, they’re heretics! they’re deadwood!


  1. Instigating hatred: Provoking statements that dehumanize others

e.g., You scumbag, Selfish, I’ll have your mouth stuffed with pork! You’re not human!


  1. Provoking segregation: Express the need of eviction

e.g., Leave the country! We can’t live together! Just go ahead with the secession!


  1. Fueling violence: Incite the physical violence to eliminate opposite sides

e.g., Kill them all!  Shoot them! Why keep the scum of earth?




02 The situation of Hate Speech in the current online world is in the 2nd Stage.


The report found that the current online world in our country mostly uses the 2nd type of hate speech which stirs up hatred and encourages provoking statement that dehumanizes others. Now is the time for concerted efforts to move Thai society pass the worrying stage we are in.


It’s better… that we had time to talk before the situation gets worse and harder to solve.

It’s better …that we were aware of the problems in front of us before we won’t have a chance to discuss this.


It’s better that we knew that this wasn’t a small issue before people start to pick up guns and kill each other


It’s better that we started to fix this together.



03 Understanding Counter Speech

By participating in this event, we learned a new term called “Counter Speech” which means the informative argument against hate speech, that are used to contradict to the detrimental opinions. This counter speech persuades online listeners or readers to stop and reconsider the conventional belief they always have.


04 We need to collaborate to reduce “Hate Speech”


The most significant message in “the National Dialogue” was that we need collaboration from all sectors to reduce keyboard abuse and extreme concepts by exchanging ideas in a constructive manner and together creating a better society in the future.


The findings from the study of “Hate speech in Social Media” or “the Decline of Tolerance that Causes Hate Speech in Social Media” reminded us to stop and think before typing anything negative on social media.

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  • Published Date: 15/11/2019
  • by: UNDP

Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019: What we learned from the social innovation challenge that Leave No One Behind

Youth is an age full of energy and creativity. Nowadays, youth is not only thought of as the beneficiaries, but also has a role as ‘Driver’ of sustainable development. One of the most important things that allow young people to take part as an agent of change is to create a space in the society where people can listen to their voices and enables them to show their full potential to shape the future they will live in. Hence, Youth Co:Lab is initiated with the intention of creating a social change from the youth level

Youth Co:Lab is an Asia-Pacific regional initiative co-leads by the United Nations Development Programme and Citi Foundation. The initiative is established with a common agenda for the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship, as well as taking part in driving the economy and solving the region’s most pressing challenges. In Thailand, the initiative has been continued for 3 consecutive years.

The approach of Youth Co: Lab Thailand is to search for social innovation ideas from youth all over Thailand and bring them to the rapid-fire workshop to develop their capacity with a Human-centered Design process, and to also learn about the sustainability model, so that they can shape their projects before pitching to the judiciary committee to find funding for making their projects become real. This year, we are more ambitious than ever as we would like to cover more complicated and deeper issues. That is, to make the vulnerable youth fully understand the complex global challenges and to be able to concretely apply social innovation concept to solve those issues more sustainably.

We asked ourselves, what will happen if we choose to work with great ideal and abstract issues? Could the use of a social innovation approach and methodology make the abstract more concrete and tangible? To answer the questions, we decided to try it out, hence, “Preventing Violent Extremism, conflict management, and inequality” become the underlying concepts of Youth Co:Lab Thailand this year.

The substrate of the world’s violent extremism, conflict and inequality seem to be accumulated from people’s different thoughts and perspectives. Oftentimes, it leads to ‘judgement’ and ‘stereotype’ on others. To solve these problems, it requires a deep understanding of the context and its root cause, which individual can start from being open-minded and embracing diversity. Creating a society where all “Respect Differences and Embrace Diversity” therefore becomes a theme of Youth Co: Lab Thailand 2019. In the Kingdom of Thailand, diversity has caused and affected prejudice and segregation in many different social dimensions, including ethnicity, religion, political opinion, access to resources, etc. These differences are the beginning point of the cleavage, climbing over and pressing each other, to the confrontation and socio-economic inequality, which can lead to violence in order to confirm one’s standpoint.

With the theme of “Respect Differences and Embrace Diversity”, our work processes are required to reflect on this value as well. We, therefore, determined to reach out to various youth groups as many as possible. And because we believe that good innovation is the one that can actually solve the problems and better our society, and 99% of the time, it first comes from the understanding in the roots of the problem and the needs of the people, we would like to have young girls and boys who personally and directly experiencing the challenges to speak up, provide inputs, and submit social innovation ideas themselves. Also, because Youth Co: Lab is an initiative to help develop innovation capacity of youth, we believe that if we apply this tool to the youths experiencing those problems, they may be able to harness such tool to create the change in their area.

Even though Youth Co: Lab Thailand 2019 may have looked like just a 3-day-event, on the contrary, it is actually a process designed and operated over months to make the initiative a truly nurturing and inclusive program. In this article, we will talk about the methodology, process and lesson learned in 2 parts:  1) before and 2) during Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019.


Before Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019


Roadshow in each region of Thailand

In the North, Northeast, and South, we worked with partners to gain access to the network of youth working on peace, conflict and inequality. Each roadshow has a different approach and style depending on the context of the local area. For instance, in the South, we visited 4 different youth groups at their usual gathering location. In the Northeast, we organized the roadshow at the university to reach students who drive for human rights and social development through their club activities. As for the North, we coordinated with indigenous youth network in order to reach youth from various ethnic backgrounds. This format adjustment in different areas allows us to reach the vulnerable youth groups more appropriately and effectively. Nevertheless, the content of the roadshow still contains the same primary points – to let young people share and discuss the differences, and how it leads to a certain situation in their area, to introduce social innovation concepts, and to consult and give advice on their project development.

Hearing the stories young people shared during the roadshow gave us a deeper understanding of each context on diversity and how it links to the challenges and opportunities. It also makes us feel even more confident that we are actually reaching to the right persons we are looking for – youth who are ‘in’ the problems and whom their stories are not usually heard in the society. For example, the story of a young stateless youth and their effort to obtain Thai citizenship for over 11 years, or the female Muslim football team who does not dress according to religious principles due to the lack of sport-friendly and agility of existing garments which leads to some misunderstandings and negative feedback from the local people, etc. After we try to look through lenses from their perspective, the next step is to invite them to look through our lenses, from the social innovator perspective. Many may think that innovation is very distant and challenging because they feel that it is only a matter of futuristic and complicate technology, when, in fact, it is not. Therefore, we have to provide a foundation and the most basic definition to make them understand that that social innovation is actually “new things, new approaches, new methods, new process to solve the same old problems to meet the social need in a better way than the existing solutions” which it could be something they are already doing. We also gave an example of case studies from around the world to help illustrate and create a clearer picture of the practice.

However, even they started to embrace social innovation to heart, “Will my project be good enough to compete with the other talents?” is the question we seem to hear from every youth in every region. And every time, we would smile back and tell them “You are a person ‘in’ the problem meaning that you know the problem better than anyone else, and when you rise to solve yourself the problem, you are nothing more than the expert.” The questions reflect a lot on their lack of self-confidence, and that is why we want them to see what we see of how brave and powerful they are. Hence, at the end of the roadshow, we help increase their confidence by providing them opportunities for consultation concerning what projects they want to do or currently work on, and how they should further develop in order to apply for Youth Co: Lab Thailand 2019.

At the end of the application period, we were pleased to see all the youths we met have overcomed their fears and decided to submit the project for this initiative.


Homework and Preparation

As the duration of Youth Co: Lab Thailand 2019 is rather short, developing and changing a project within 3 days is almost impossible. Therefore, it is necessary to give some homework to prepare and get the participants ready first. Although the proposed projects are in different stages of development, some projects are just starting with ideas, while some projects have prototypes or already put the products out to the market. Still, in order to actually carry on with the project, every project, regardless of any stage must have a clear answer on and understanding of the users or someone they want to resolve the problems for. Therefore, the 10 finalist teams were instructed to interview the beneficiaries and those involved, then analyze those data and compile with the goals and vision that each team wants to achieve for the better future through the “Theory of Change” in order to review their determination and objective of the project.

The homework given encourages young participants to deepen their understanding and testing their assumptions on what works and what doesn’t. We did not expect that every team would come with an accurate answer because we know that it is impossible as the social innovation process must be done repeatedly and continuously. Therefore, the hidden purpose of this homework is to help young people to break out of their comfort zone and the old way of thinking, to see in the perspective of users, and to get familiar with the tools before coming to the 3-day-event.

What happened during Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019



exchange of experiences of youth who have common value and determination to solve social problems to learn from each other.  The sharing of experiences hence creates a strong youth network, as well as nurtures changemakers at the local level. For this reason, we give priority to creating a space for participants to build a relationship and learn about each other’s nature with respect and tolerance. The activities on the first night of the event, therefore, focus on creating a relaxed atmosphere, networking, and getting to know each other. Of course, a bit of knowledge on SDGs and social innovation are always integrated here and there.

The activities are divided into 3 parts consisting of:

1) Learning about SDGs through case studies of social innovation in both Thailand and abroad. The content is communicated through game-playing, the Giant Jenga, which must be played in harmony as a team, allowing youth to start opening up to each other.

2) Sharing of experiences from youth speakers from the North, Central, and South on their motivation, challenges and opportunities, as well as success and failure working on social innovation for peacebuilding. Followed by networking dinner where participants get together with new friends and have a chance to casually exchange discussion with the speakers.

3) Getting to know friends’ identities through games such as ‘I am… but I am not…’, to open up conversation while dining, and ‘Common Ground’, to find common/different areas or traits of each person to make them get familiar with each other, feel comfortable enough to reveal their thoughts and opinions, and be able to understand and embrace those who are different.


Creating a safe and comfort zone

The networking on the first night may be the first door to embracing diversity, still, creating a safe zone before starting the intensive workshop is also as important. Our approach begins with emotion and expectation checking, allowing young participants to pour out their “fear”, concern, and pressure on what will happen during the event. By opening up, participants feel more connected to each other as they start to understand the nature of human emotions, and shift their mindset from Youth Co:Lab as a competition to Youth Co:Lab as collaborative learning.

Creating a safe zone does not only occur at the beginning of the workshop, but repeatedly from start to finish. The role of facilitators is not just teaching and designing the process but must also be someone who always keeps an eye on and recognizes participants’ feeling and emotion during the whole process. If the facilitator feels the conditions of oppression or worry from the participants, it may be necessary to take a short break to release anxiety or to share feelings with each other again so that participants’ learning experience can flow in balance.


Deepen the understanding of the problems

Almost half of the workshop is spent on Theory of Change, deepening the understanding of the issues and its context, and reviewing the solution if it aligns with the team’s future goal. Also, through the iceberg Model and systemic thinking, participants went back again to seek for the root cause behind actions and behaviours. For example, the system that causes such behaviours, and what is it that one believes and values that influences their actions.

Taking the time in this process does not only help each team to have a clearer picture of their ideas, but also create a feeling of connectivity as they see that the phenomena that happened, although in different form and different places, have a common underlying cause – people don’t see and treat everyone as ‘equal.’ Understanding the problem in interrelated dimensions reduces competitive barrier, propel friendship, and make them realize that “We are not tackling this big and difficult problem alone.”


Project development through Peer-to-Peer learning.

Continuously in every step of the workshop, the practice we used to help participant build their capacity and advance their projects is the Peer-to-Peer learning. Participants have the opportunity to present the project to their peers, as well as providing feedback and recommendation in return. The process brought back participants from the overwhelming of their own issues and encourage them to look at the other aspects of the problem as well as expand their perspective, which may be useful for their project development. This process also emphasizes on the agenda of Youth Co:Lab, that is to make realized that the problem today is a shared problem which needs the hands of everyone in the society and that we cannot change the society if we focus only on our own problem. Youth Co:Lab is the safe space of collaboration, hence, the money reward is not the main goal.


Consulting with Mentors

In the application form for Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019, we asked the applicants about the area in which they would like to seek consultation and mentorship as we believe that by meeting and talking with an experienced expert will definitely help strengthens their capacity and integrate wider knowledge for more sustainable development. For this reason, we brought together experts from different industry including business, media, law, naturalization, technology, gamification, partnership management, learning process design, peacebuilding and conflict management, and participatory democracy to give creative advice. This learning process helps participants’ idea to get closer to the truth.



This last session with no less important than the others is the storytelling for pitching. Learning to design one’s own narrative is not only to win the prize money but also to speak up and voice out to the general public about the problem they have been facing in their communities, which may be unknown to the outsiders, as well as showing their passion and determination on solving these problems. Although the pitching technique that we taught is effectively structured and very usual for most of the pitching stages, we always emphasize that if participants do not agree with the example given, they don’t need to follow at all. Only do what they think is best for them. The most important thing is that they get to express their story and the public become more aware and collectively start to do so as well.



At this point, we can see that behind all the process happened in Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019, the innovation competition is only a door to invite people to take interest and apply for the program. The heart of the initiative is nevertheless “a platform for collaboration among youth to lead the social change,” which contain the exact meaning of Youth (young people) Co (Collaboration) Lab (Laboratory – experimenting with new things). At the end of the event, we feel very proud to see the result we hope for – a strong youth partnership and the passion and determination on solving the World’s most complex challenges in order to sustain peace in their local communities. We heard loud applause and cheering of youth for the other teams during the pitching. We see the development of a friendship that even after the event, they all still keep in touch with each other and sometimes gather to do good or to do new projects. These are our indicators of the success of Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019, which we have proved that the competitiveness in the collaborative atmosphere can happen. In fact, it is better that competition and collaboration happen at the same time. Indeed, ‘peacebuilding and sustaining peace’ is a difficult, complex and interrelated challenge which must be solved through a collaborative model in order to create sustainable development for the better future.



Finally, Thailand Social Innovation Platform under the United Nations Development Programme would like to thank all of our partners for making Youth Co: Lab Thailand 2019 happened:

–    Citi Foundation, our regional co-leads;
–    The European Union, National Innovation Agency, and Air Asia for sponsoring Thailand’s event;
–    Office of National Security Council – we are very honoured that you joined the judging committee;
–    Thailand Institute of Justice, our absolute amazing facilitators;
–    All mentors who passionately gave invaluable advice to our young participants;
–    Mr. Wannasingh Prasertkul for being our ambassador and took part in filming the promotional video;
–    Our young participants – for your passion and giving us hope for the brighter future.


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  • Published Date: 24/09/2019
  • by: UNDP

Nas Daily, an influencer who campaigns against social segregation

Many of us have known today’s famous vlogger and influencer Nas Daily from his short one-minute videos and the signature send-off tagline, “That’s one minute, see you tomorrow!” Nas Daily is Nuseir Yassi, a 26-year-old Palestinian-Israeli who decided to travel the world and make one video every day not only to document his journey, but also expose his viewers to new experiences around the world. In one of Yassi’s more outstanding videos, he opens with,

“I hope this video make you angry, because it makes me angry”



This episode of Nas Daily is titled “Segregation”. When we hear the word segregation, we would think about the separation of people on the basis of race, skin color, sex, religion, and other differences, leading to inequality, discrimination and intolerance. Even as societies have advanced and connected without borders, and people’s views are more open; racial discrimination still often manifests itself in schools, societies, and communities, on and offline. What follows is nevertheless conflict.



At the beginning of his video, Nuseir Yassin talks about his childhood as an Arab who didn’t have any Jewish friends. It wasn’t because he hated Jews, but because Jews and Arabs didn’t want to live around each other. In Israel where Yassin lived, segregation exists much like in many more countries around the world. There, Jews and Arabs would live in different neighborhoods. They wouldn’t go to the same school or associate with each other in any way.

He adds that this racial segregation is no one’s fault. It’s only natural for humans to gravitate towards those with the same culture. But self-segregation from the rest of society on the basis of faith or race, he notes, is dangerous. For instance, although London has rich racial diversity; Muslims, black people and white people live separately. The Muslims have their own neighborhood and they’re surrounded by their own culture. Society is, then, broken up into parts that don’t mix with one another. And when they don’t see or understand the others, it becomes easier to hate. This is why segregation is frightening.



However, there’s a solution. Yassin shares about Singapore, a country with a diverse population of Malays, Chinese and Indians. 81% of the people live in public housing which is required by the government to fulfill a racial quota: in every 100 apartments, there are 74 Chinese families, 13 Indian households and 13 Malaysian ones. No one race occupies 100% of public housing, and this creates a good model for racial integration. Jun Xiang, a representative from Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB) who is featured in the video also added,

“We have encouraged social mixing so that people of different racial groups stay together and understand the lifestyle of each other,”


This kind of social mixing enables people of different races to meet and mingle: children play together in the playground and become friends as their parents say hello to each other in the elevator. If this integration policy worked in Singapore, it can be adopted by any country in the world. Because no matter where they are, governments should find a way to encourage people of different races to live together. Not only in the policy level that should be changed, but we should also teach our children and the next generations to understand cultural diversity, and accept and respect others’ differences so that we can live harmoniously as one big society and there can be no place left for segregation.


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  • Published Date: 16/09/2019
  • by: UNDP

Learn to prevent violence before it ever happens


Undeniably, today’s world is covered with images of poverty, discrimination, inequality and injustice. They are the factors behind violent extremism whether at a community, national or global level. The timely important question is what does it take to prevent violent extremism? What tools or measures can stop violence-induced tragedies before they happen time and time again?



Preventing violent extremism is not averting violence with more violence. It’s about how to identify the problem as well as its root cause to collectively find a peaceful solution. The approach requires cooperation between the government, local authorities and citizens.

Although there hasn’t been a clear example of violent extremism in Thailand, the risks that can lead to it are in view. Here, the space for all people to share their opinion, dialogue and problems is quite limited. This includes various issues that still go unaddressed such as women’s limited social and political voice, the apparent gender inequality in Thai society, and inequitable access to opportunities for the excluded and underprivileged.

Getting informed or a better understanding of the issues is a good and essential first step. We had a chance to meet Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, a lecturer of international relations at the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, and talked to her about preventing violent extremism in Thailand.


(photo credit : GM Magazine, January 2017 issue)

What is PVE?

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: PVE or Preventing Violent Extremism is to avert violence that is the result of extreme ideologies. The violence is justified by a certain extreme ideology or thought, and targeted at someone or some group who the extremist sees as their “opposition”, or who they think “taints” their society. To prevent such violence, we need to look at the social structure and culture that shape the extremists. These people often live in social conflict, and when people face conflict on a daily basis, being in this loop of animosity, they would harbour grievance. It can be grievance over economic injustice, glaring class disparity, or religious and racial discrimination.

Some may feel that a certain policy doesn’t give them equal access to education. Others may feel similarly about other policies. There are varying reasons for the grievance. So, to create protection against extreme ideologies, we need to study and understand people’s grievances, seeing what drives them to the point of violent conflict.


PVE in the context of Thailand

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: The meaning of violent extremism we understand now derives from the experience of our neighboring countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as many countries in the Middle East and the West, which may not represent the same experiences that Thai people have. From the dialogue in Thailand, the definition of violent extremism here is not quite set. Each group or sector has its own understanding of the term, depending on their experience and stance in different situations of conflict. For example, when we talk to the civil society, we’ll learn that the state is at the center of it, they’re the one inflicting violence on the people and therefore is the root cause of violence. Meanwhile, from the state’s point of view, violent extremism comes from a certain group of people who commit violence against another group of people who have a different identity from them. So for us, I think the definition of violent extremism should be based on the context of Thai society. That is, we understand the conditions of violent extremism by looking at the relevant dimensions – social, political, economic, etc – rather than look at who commits violence.


Work to prevent violent extremism

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: The UNDP’s work to prevent violent extremism in Thailand is divided into many units, but they can be grouped into two main areas, namely:

1. PVE in the conflict zones of Thailand’s three deep southern provinces: Various programs are set up to research the social and cultural conditions that enable or assist violent conflict. For example, a program that focuses on Thai-Muslim tolerance or a program that promotes dialogue between Buddhists and Muslims to develop good understanding between people of different faiths.

2. PVE in other areas in Thailand: research on the root causes of grievance in all regions – north, northeast, central and south – and what motivates violent extremist actions and how

UNDP also has a team of people that monitors hate speech in the country, identifying and analyzing open conversations and statements on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook that discriminate against minority groups. Additionally, we collaborate with government agencies to support various violent extremism prevention initiatives.



Public awareness

Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira: There still isn’t that much awareness about preventing violent extremism among the general public. Because its concept originated elsewhere, that is, violence-stricken countries or societies. So now we’re working to raise more awareness and create a better public understanding of the issue.

That being said, there are a lot more to be done and challenges to tackle. We’re going to focus on building cooperation between different sectors – from the private sector, organizations to civil society – through a strategic management approach, research, or consultation with experts in various areas in order to come up with Thailand’s approach to preventing violent extremism.


Sources :

– Asst. Prof. Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Lecturer of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University

– The United Nations and The World Bank, 2018, “Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approach to Preventing Violent Conflict”. Executive Summary, Washington D.C. Bank. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.

– http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/rbap/en/home/programmes-and-initiatives/extremelives.html?fbclid=IwAR3G9xDf15DZCyru0BvszNMAL5rcdITCcR4YdKIPrmfT8JmzxIEAaz5QFzo

– https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/2030-agenda-for-sustainable-development/peace/conflict-prevention/preventing-violent-extremism.html

– https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2019/new-approaches-to-preventing-violent-extremism.html

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