This postgraduate study tour is an experience of “doing” theology in the context of exposure-immersion to sites, organisations and Catholic schools engaged in social justice mission and ministry, especially those serving the indigenous ethnic minorities of Thailand.
Instead of traditional classroom lectures, most of your learning will take place through your experience in the field, as you listen to community organisers, tribal leaders, and the local youth. This is an experiment in theologising from the ground-up, where the starting point of your reflections are the life and realities of the people of Thailand.
Saturday 28 September to Sunday 6 October 2019
THCP615 Theology, Social Justice and Mission
This study tour will take place in Northern Thailand, specifically around the provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. You will fly in to Chiang Mai on Saturday 28 September 2019 and depart on Sunday 6 October 2019. During this time, we will visit many different educational and theological sites, taking many road trips by minivan.
What you can expect
- Spend the first two nights in Chiang Mai, the next three nights in Chiang Rai, and the last three nights back in Chiang Mai.
- Visit Xavier Learning Community, a college established by the Society of Jesus to serve young people from tribal villages.
- Stop over at a village of the Karen Long Neck Tribes people, where the women wear brass coils around their necks.
- Visit the Training Center for Religio-Cultural Community, which focuses on sustainable development and cultural agriculture.
- Learn about the ministries of the Jesuit Refugee Services and their advocacy on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.
- Visit sacred and historical temples such as the Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Dao Sacred Cave, Wat Thaton, and Doi Suthep Temple.
Dr Edmund Chia worked in Thailand for eight years where he headed the interreligious dialogue office of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences. Originally from Malaysia, Dr Chia completed his doctoral studies in Europe, taught for a number of years in the United States and, since 2011, has been teaching at ACU. His expertise is in the area of Asian theology.
Read more about Dr Edmund Chia
Study tour highlights
- Experience a home visit in the hill-tribe villages, enabling you to witness up close the culture and life of northern Thailand’s tribal peoples.
- Learn about Thai socio-politico-cultural realities by immersing yourself in public squares, night bazaars and cultural centres.
- Participate in interreligious dialogue through visits to sacred temples, encounters with Buddhist monks and learning about the practice of Vipassana meditation.
- Study the acute socio-political challenges, including the pervasive effects of the drug trade at the Golden Triangle and Hall of Opium Museum.
- Explore Thai history and culture at the Lanna Folklife Museum and the ancient underground lost city of Wiang Kum Kam.
Topics covered will include:
- Reflection from the perspective of theology as “faith seeking empowering understanding” or as “a hermeneutic of hope”.
- An experience of how Asian Christians integrate the theoretical and practical perspectives of missioning as minorities in a predominantly Buddhist nation.
- A study of selected key texts on the faith that does justice and lives out the Gospel in contemporary times.
- Interreligious dialogue and how the Church is in partnership with its religious neighbours in its quest for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
- Debriefing sessions to reflect on our experiences together and to help each other discern critical theological learning points.