Happy New Years!!! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays!
To start off this year, I would like to share some of the overall content of a workshop that took place on Saturday, January 10th. There were professors and graduate students that were there to present from the University of Amsterdam, University of Kyoto, University of Tokyo and from Sophia.
Here are the abstracts of what each student and professor presented in the order the presentation took place (click on the words in italics to see each PDF):
Jin Sato (Professor, Department of Pioneering Asian Studies, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo) : Colors of the State
Rosita Dewi (PhD Candidate, Center for Southeast Asian Studies , Kyoto University) : Dilemma of Participatory Mapping
Viviane Lopes (M.A. Candidate, Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University) : Politicising international development aid: Samal Island and its market-led land reform
Laurens Bakker (Professor, Insitute of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Amsterdam)
Gerben Nooteboom (Lecturer and Researcher, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Amsterdam) : Rural Transformation and Afforestation in Java: Understanding Farm Tree Planting in Central-Java, INDONESIA; Its Reasons and Social Concequences
Mohamad Shohibuddin (PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Amsterdam) : Making Peace or Sustaining Conflict? Securitisation of Land Distribution Programme in Post-War Aceh, Indonesia
Yukari Sekine (M.A. Candidate, Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University) : Globalization and local land governance: Mechanisms of confiscation and contentious politics in Myanmar’s Dawei Special Economic zone area
The last commentator of the workshop was Madoka Onizuka from the NGO “Mekong Watch”. Having worked in Burma,her insights on the workshop itself was fascinating. She expressed her thoughts from the perspective of a member of the NGO, stating the field of academia tends to focus on what kinds of conflicts are out in the world, where NGOs are more interested in the solution. Now also working as a yoga instructor, she also included a perspective from a more spiritual point of view, stating that in the field of yoga, all existing sufferance are results of human ignorance of one’s own identity.
The workshop was very informative and I learned something different from each presentation. Half of me is just amazed at how much transition that world is going through, whether it is about farmers replanting trees or securitisation. The other half always feel a sense of hopelessness when I hear such lectures and presentations, because though people are making changes for the better, each transition to solve a conflict, always ends up as the cause of another. And from this sense, the idea of yoga therapy, that the conflicts emerge from a micro more personal level, seems quite understandable. Perhaps it is a dual transition of what could be changed in the society and what could be changed in personal everyday lives, that becomes crucial in aiming for real solutions.