Education For Right Livelihood to Inspire Change – Connecting Activism and Academia 19 – 22 February 2020

As the Right Livelihood Award is approaching its 40th Anniversary and the Right Livelihood College is celebrating 10 years, our common global challenges are becoming increasingly acute and tangible when it comes to for example the climate crisis, authoritarian governance, the continuous threat of violent conflict including the use of nuclear weapons and growing inequality between rich and poor. At this crucial time in human history, Right Livelihood Award Laureates hold in their hands a whole mosaic of proven solutions for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world, and the Right Livelihood College is emerging as a creative platform for Laureates to share their knowledge and discuss with students. The collaboration of Laureates is essential to making the College an even more effective network for Inspiring Change, not least in the coming decisive decade.  In our regular contact with the Laureates, we experience that most are under pressure in one way or another because of their work. And in many cases, we see that support / solidarity / knowledge transfer from other Laureates can be of great assistance.   

During our 40th Anniversary year, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation hasdecided to make sure that Laureates meet in different constellations all over the world – to make the Award better known and inspire the now urgent need of change with the Laureates’ stories, and for Laureates to strengthen each other in different ways. The concept of Right Livelihood means that each one of us should fully respect other people and the natural world – being responsible for the consequences of our actions and taking only a fair share of the earth´s resources. It is an endless work for a just, peaceful and sustainable world for all – for present and future generations. The upcoming 40th Anniversary provides us with a great opportunity to come together to inspire a much-needed system change.    

We plan for three conferences on three continents (Bangkok, Addis Ababa and Medellín) focusing on different themes, also including participants to join online. On top of this, the Foundation will facilitate smaller meetings (digital and physical) between Laureates.   

Overall Objective for Meetings during 2020 

The overall objective for meetings arranged during the 40th Anniversary (digital as well as physical meetings) is to inspire real systems change by elevating the Award and its Laureates, and energising the network of Laureates and Right Livelihood College campuses, where some start to give mutual support to each other in their daily challenges, their fears, hopes and ongoing campaigns, in order to bring another layer to their work.    

The Bangkok Conference- Education for Right Livelihood   

Please register for the Public Conference here 

The conference in Bangkok coincides with the 10th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood College initiative. It will be co-organised by the Right Livelihood Foundation and the Right Livelihood College campus in Bangkok, School for Wellbeing Studies and Research, for which Sulak Sivaraksa (Thailand, Laureate of 1995) is the honorary patron. While celebration the Award’s 40th Anniversary and the Right Livelihood College’s 10th Anniversary the focus will be on the future and Education for Right Livelihood. The meeting wants to strengthen the links between generations and between academia and activism.   During the 30th Anniversary conference 2010 with Right Livelihood Award Laureates in Bonn, Judge Weeramantry (Sri Lanka, Laureate of 2006) presented a declaration on Training for Trusteeship which many of the Laureates and also Board members signed. “Trusteeship implies protection of and care for the environment, conservation of the rights and interests of future generations, protection of our cultural heritage, and the protection of human rights and dignity worldwide.” (from the declaration text) Judge Weeramantry also expressed this with the following words: “The international legal system at one stage protected only the privileged few among the nation states and disregarded the rights of the rest of humanity. We now deem that to be a travesty of what international law should stand for. [However], we are today using international law in a much more heartless fashion, for we think only of those who are alive here and now and shut our eyes to the rest of the vast family of humanity who are yet to come…”. His thoughts are well in line with the work of many other Laureates, for example movements like Bill McKibben’s 350.org (USA, Laureate of 2014) or the work of Erik Dammann and his organisation The Future in our Hands (Norway, Laureate of 1982), both who since long have brought in the aspect of future generations. This is also what Greta Thunberg (Sweden, Laureates 2019) and the growing movements like Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellions are expressing. The Right Livelihood College Campus in Bangkok has worked with the concept of trusteeship for 10 years. To have the training for trusteeship for future generations as an overall theme for the meeting therefore seems fitting.    

After a consultation with Ibrahim Abouleish (Egypt, Laureate 2003) in 2015, a personal encounter with Judge Christopher Weeramantry at his residence in 2016 and in dialogue with members of the Rights of Nature movement spearheaded by Vandana Shiva (India, Laureate 1993), the School for Wellbeing, initiated further steps in the direction of “trusteeship” as an enabling concept for local and global governance transformation. Professor of Law Klaus Bosselmann, Auckland University, New Zealand, coined the term Earth Trusteeship in his “Harmony with Nature” presentation for the UN General Assembly in 2017. At the occasion of “70 Years Universal Declaration of Human Rights” the Hague Principles on Responsibilities for Human Rights and Earth Trusteeship were adopted in the Peace Palace, 10 December 2018. And the first Earth Trusteeship Forum was held at Elisabeth Vreedehuis, The Hague, the Netherlands, with the support of Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria, Laureate of 2010). The second Earth Trusteeship Forum, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, July 2019.    During the forthcoming 10 years – between the Right Livelihood Award’s 40th and 50th Anniversaries – the world needs to go through extensive changes with an holistic approach to issues such as climate change, energy and food production, Human Rights, mindful consumption, biodiversity, and distribution of resources – all in the spirit of trusteeship, solutions, ideas and changes that Right Livelihood Award Laureates have been working on and supporting for 40 years and more. How do we best develop and make use of the Right Livelihood Foundation, its Laureates, the Right Livelihood College and other partners in our network to make these changes happen during the next decisive decade? To bridge the possible generation gaps and science with activism, we will aim to bring in both the younger generation and activists working close to Laureates / Laureates’ organisations.    

Outcome  The success of the meeting depends on:  

  • Number of initiatives/collaborations/discussions which will be continued;
  • What participants express about the meeting (connections, getting energised/inspired for continued work etc);
  • Number of participants attending public event (including gender, age etc); and
  • Media interest.

Please stay tune for more information on: https://schoolforwellbeing.org

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