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Phase II: Regional expansion

(top to bottom) © UNESCO

Group picture during temple tour.

Stucco made during training on display.

Study tour at Wat Chae Haeng, Nan.

Visting National Museum in Nan.

First Theravada Caucus

Location: Nan Province, Thailand
Dates: 9-10 December 2005

Organized by UNESCO, the First Theravada Caucus was hosted in Non-Formal Education Center in Nan Province, Thailand. The two day event was generously supported by Nan project team, local organizing committee, local communities, institutions, and government authorities and their representatives.

The caucus was Nine site teams from five countries participated (including Cambodia; Xishuangbanna, China; Kandy, Sri Lanka; Champasak, Bokeo, Luang Prabang, and Savannakhet, Lao PDR; Nakhon Si Thammarat and Nan, Thailand), along with resource persons from various institutions and representatives from UNESCO. Each participating site team included representatives from both the lay and sangha local project committees.

The objectives of the Caucus were three-fold: (i) to review progress of project implementation at different sites, from which networking opportunities could be identified, (ii) to share best practices in documentation and training, and (iii) to link the project with sustainable development programmes. The output of the Caucus was the establishment of a sub-regional cross-mentoring network among the Theravada Buddhist sites. Given the rich historical linkages and cultural exchanges within the Theravada tradition, the Caucus served as a venue for the different Theravada sites to exchange lessons learnt, thereby providing not only knowledge but also inspiration for sites to network in the areas of crafts documentation and training.

Through an open floor discussion, a number of key issues regarding the sustainability of the project were raised. They are concerned with the long-term role of monks in conserving temples and Buddhist heritage; documentation of conserving temples and Buddhist heritage; and sustainability of the UNESCO project. The open discussion was useful to generate new ideas for the sustainability of the project into the future.
During the study tour, Tai Lue  project sites of Xishuangbanna and Bokeo  were very interested in the notable examples of Tai Lue folk art and architecture embodied in most of the temples they visited.

Inspired by the site presentation and study tours carefully tailored to the caucus objectives, at the end of the caucus, some project teams were considering their networking schedule for future project activities, and others set out immediately to visit the site of  their cross-mentoring partners.

Please visit Resources for more information about the meeting.