DTP’s first workshop with DTP alumni in Asia took place in Bangkok from 26-27 June, with 28 alumni from 10 countries joined by DTP trainers Arul Prakkash and Ruki Fernando, and William Gois and Guangchun Gangmei from DTP partners, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). FORUM-ASIA was also well represented by its Chair (Jerald Joseph) and Executive Director (Aileen Balcaso), both DTP alumni.
Participating alumni came from DTP’s 1st program in 1990 through to its most recent program on human rights in Myanmar in 2023. Apologies were received from others who could not make it at this time, and DTP apologises to those that expressed interest in joining but weren’t there. Discussions were enriched by anecdotes and reflections on DTP’s impacts on individuals, and on wider movements for human rights over the last 30+ years.
As in the Pacific DTP alumni meeting, alumni emphasised the value of the “peoples’ diplomacy” skills developed through DTP. There was discussion on the current context and priority needs for human rights advocacy training in the region, and the value of building DTP’s alumni networks across the generations of those working for human rights. Plans to mark the 75th Anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR by highlighting the critical role of human rights defenders was also discussed. In a context of closing space for civil society and increased need for international solidarity, all agreed on the value of bringing DTP alumni together.
The conversations and consultations with DTP alumni are important to us and will continue in different ways. DTP will aim for further alumni meetings in Asia later this year. A full report will follow. DTP acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and from the National Endowment for Democracy for the delivery of this event. DTP also thanks those that have completed the DTP alumni survey.