Panel on the Arts, Culture, Media and Communication
Presenters: Sornchai Chatwiriyachai, Prasard Prathedrut
Words that speak about more words keep us from real understanding. The arts are beyond mere words and aesthetics is beyond logic or reasoning. Culture is a fertile ground where the seed of human compassion can grow and prosper. It is also a foundation in the collective soul of our ancestors. If we don’t have our cultural roots, we become strangers of peace. Children learn how to love other fellow human beings through culture. Culture and art help cultivate inner peace. “The heart that sings and dances can do no violence.”
- Children who want to learn about the arts and their local culture should be encouraged and supported.
- Governments and educational institutions should provide learners with open opportunities to learn what their hearts and minds demand. No student should be persuaded to give up arts or culture for whatever reasons conjured up by their governments or anyone.
- Policy makers should not allocate budgets and their resources based upon conventional economic indicators such as GDP, which prioritizes materialism and excessive consumerism. But instead they should consider and adopt GNH (Gross National Happiness) indicators as their policy rationale, with the realization that the arts and culture are the main contributors of happiness and civil welfare.
- Local community should be empowered to evaluate and determine the appropriate media content that will be publicly available in the community. The community should be able to reject any form of public media such as billboards, flyers, PR buses, local radio, cable TV and so which do not subscribe to the acceptable local values with ease if it wishes to do so.
- All forms of arts and culture that are not against local values should be encouraged universally. They should be treated with the same dignity anyone gives to their own culture. Past history should not be used as a reason to restrain or to banish other people’s cultures.
- Indigenous cultures and ethnic ways of life should be cherished and preserved at all costs, for nations should regard these various cultures as the weavers of their own unique cultures and national identities.
- Dialogue and deep listening skills should be encouraged and embraced as the means to cultivate real human bonding. Authentic communications can happen when we are able to talk to each other and mutually uncover our own prejudices or mental models which restrain us from more deeply understanding ourselves as fellow human beings. Newly emerging methods of collaborative conversation such as World Café, Open Space Technology or indigenous tribal talk circles should be explored and adopted as a means to hold conversations within the community. These collaborative conversations give people a chance to voice their thoughts and convey their feelings, their worries and their fears; but because talks of these kinds can be threatening for authorities, they are frequently sabotaged or discouraged. Governments and policy makers should commit to this mode of communication as an important stepping-stone for democracy and make sure no intervention occurs. Also they should provide necessary space and budgets to enable these kinds of conversations in all levels of society.