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Phase II: Regional expansion


Young novices working on clay modeling © UNESCO

Project overview and objectives
Linking to the training center in Luang Prabang, Bokeo will serve as a satellite center for traditional Buddhist arts and building crafts in northwestern Lao PDR. Training-of-trainers will be conducted at the training center in Luang Prabang. Upon their return to Bokeo, the trainers will conduct pilot training at a small training center established for the project as well as at local monasteries where practicum work will be undertaken. Mobile training capacity will be built and resourced from the Luang Prabang training center. When sufficient local capacity has been built, the satellite center in Bokeo will implement a longer-term hands-on training programme for monks and novices from the different districts in Bokeo province.  

Within Bokeo province, the Bokeo project team will undertake much needed awareness raising activities in order to conserve Buddhist heritage including those with distinct Tai Lue styles, and those of traditional crafts for the future repair and maintenance of the remaining older monasteries.

As part of regional collaboration, sub-regional resource sharing and cross mentoring activities have been taking place between the predominantly Tai Lue Buddhist communities in Bokeo, Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, China, and Nan province in Thailand. This effort is hoped to re-enforce the Tai Lue culture, identity and, in particular, the Tai Lue Buddhist arts, which are threatened despite of their distinctiveness.

Project output to date
The local project steering committee was officially established on 29 June 2005. Prior to the launch of on-site project activities in Bokeo in October 2005, for several months already, monks from Bokeo had participated in the training in Luang Prabang. They are trainers eventually returning to Bokeo at the training center where training will take place and be focused on drawing, painting, carving, and clay modeling.
The participation of the Bokeo team in the Theravada Caucus in Nan, Thailand in December 2005 has facilitated an increased understanding of the project objectives and provided ideas for documentation techniques among the members of the project team. In addition, the caucus provided an excellent opportunity to initiate collaboration within the Tai Lue project sites of Bokeo, Nan, Xishuangbanna and Luang Prabang.  At the end of December 2005, the project team undertook a study trip to Luang Prabang to observe training activities and management of the training center. In January 2006, a training center was set up at Vat Keophonesavanh in Houaysai, the provincial capital of Bokeo.    

Accordingly, the Bokeo project team has undertaken multi-day awareness raising trips to several districts in Bokeo province during which they met with villagers and monks to discuss cultural survival issues and identify potential trainers and trainees for the training programme in the center.