By Angelica de Jesus (PhD Candidate, University of Toronto) and Ishtiaq Afridi (UCRSEA Summer Research Intern, 2015 and Sustainability Management Program, University of Toronto)
The workshop arranged by Mahasarakham University in July 2015 provided a forum for local partners, graduate students and local researchers to present research findings and discuss research proposals on various topics related to UCRSEA themes.
The event was a wonderful opportunity for participants to learn about climate change challenges in Southeast Asia, and for presenters to receive feedback on their current research.
The Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies at Mahasarakham University is the newest UCRSEA partner organization.
Presenters included Dr. Kontaros Kaomuangnoi (Mahasarakham University); Professor Saimai Chaisirirn (Mahasarakham University); Mr. Weerayuth Phothaworn (Khon Kaen University); Dr. Pakamas Thingphanga (Institute for Social & Environmental Transition; Thailand Environment Institute); Angelica de Jesus (University of Toronto); Ishtiaq Afridi (University of Toronto); and Taylor Martin (University of Ottawa).
The one-day event covered several topics including the challenges of urbanization and climate change vulnerability in Southeast Asia, as introduced by Dr. Thingphanga, UCRSEA Co-Director. Dr. Kaomuangnoi, a lecturer from Mahasrakham University, shared his insights on the importance of promoting social enterprises in the Mukdahan Special Investment Zone in order to offset impacts of a major development project in a northeastern province of Thailand.
During the latter half of the workshop, graduate students Angelica de Jesus, Ishtiaq Afridi and Taylor Martin explained how their respective research efforts support UCRSEA’s goals of enhancing resilience and improving the economic and social well being of communities in the region.
Angelica de Jesus, a PhD candidate in Planning at the University of Toronto, is researching how Myanmar migrants perceive, experience and anticipate climate change impacts in the informal settlements of Phuket, Thailand. For her, feedback from participants was very positive and helpful, and will help her to further narrow her research scope. It also provided her with a better idea of the challenges that she may face while gathering data in Thailand.
Ishtiaq Afridi, a postgraduate student in the Sustainability Management Program at the University of Toronto, is examining how the private sector copes with climate change impacts, as well as the role that government policies and regulations play in influencing climate change actions in Thailand.
Taylor Martin, a Masters candidate in International Development and Globalization at the University of Ottawa, is assessing vulnerability and the multi-scale shocks and stresses that impact the Dawei District of Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region.