Event Reports

KASSID Winter Meeting 2022: International Cooperation Toward Global Challenges

by Philipp Ghouri

Non-Violent Communication and Capacity Building for Preparedness in challenging contexts

On 6-7 December 2022, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Thailand organized the “KASSID Winter Meeting 2022: International Cooperation Toward Global Challenges” for its KASSID scholars from batch 1 and 2 at the Jasmine City Hotel in Bangkok. The meeting started with an ice-breaking activity followed by educational updates and progress in social work of each scholar. Considering global trends such as repression in democracy in many countries, and geopolitical tensions affecting our lives in all dimensions directly and indirectly, the KAS invited Assoc. Dr. Jittipat Poonkham from Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University to give a lecture on international relations and cooperation. The lecture provided the scholars with an overview of the global situation, background of challenges, including different policies, values, and norms of the great powers and other organizations. After the lecture, the KASSID scholars were assigned to do three consecutive workshops to brainstorm and address issues at regional and global level. The speaker also asked them to prioritize those challenges and propose policies to MPs or policy makers to tackle such complications. From this session, the scholars learned that problems at the regional and global level are interconnected with different layers and complexity. Therefore, regional and international cooperation is needed to solve or mitigate the challenges. The scholars addressed following issues as their top priorities: human rights, democracy, equality, decentralization, sustainable social welfare, effective management of public tax, climate change mitigation, including access to free and high quality education for all.

Apart from international relations and geopolitical topics, Dr. Céline-Agathe Caro, Director of the KAS Thailand led the second session on “Soft Power” through a game to illustrate what is soft power, how is it shaped, and how does it work with one’s perception. The session continued with a discussion on the German soft power perceived in Thailand and the Thai perception toward Germany. The KASSID scholars saw that the Thais’ perception toward Germany is relatively positive. For example, German cars and German products are considered “high quality”, and it can easily convince consumers to buy the products. Therefore, this is one of the most obvious German soft power in Thailand. At the end of the session, the scholars had an increased understanding of soft power and could differentiate what is and what is not a soft power.

In light of ongoing global conflicts and tensions, effective communication is key to make peaceful dialogues. To prepare the KASSID scholars for the future challenging context, the KAS provided the scholars with a communication training. On 7 December, the communication trainers, Ms. Warisara Meepasanee and Ms. Phornpen Wongkitmanochai, used both - theory and practice - to achieve effective communication based on empathy. The scholars gained deep listening and conceptualizing skills by noticing verbal and body language. Moreover, they learned how to turn judgment into empathy, and how to understand and express their own feelings and needs through a card game. Besides, they got to understand their own personalities, seeing pros and cons of their characters. They learned about what kind of communication method they use, and what type of communication they prefer most. The trainers let the scholars play a drawing game by dividing duties of each scholars. Another game was a role play where the scholars had to understand the situation and analyze the character of their conversation partner in order to create an effective dialogue to reach their goal. At the end of the session, the KASSID scholars reflected that apart from getting to know themselves better and communication technics, they have learned how to work as a team, to plan the work process, to accept differences of each character, and most importantly to trust their co-worker. The KASSID Winter Meeting 2022 ended with joy and happiness of all participants. We are looking forward to the next meeting in Summer 2023!