Rector Dr.P.Martin Komolmas giving welcome speech to delegates attending the "International Conference on Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Cahnge" on May 9, 2001

Dean of the Graduate School of Philosophy Dr.Warayuth S. presiding over the International Conference on Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change held at the Coronation Hall.

Delegates attending the "International Conference on Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change" holding discussions in Room 63 of Coronation Hall.

The Graduate School of Philosophy and Religion, Assumption University of Thailand, in collaboration with the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, the Catholic University of America, held the above conference on May 9-l 1, 2001 at Room C63, C Building, Hua Mak Campus.

Historical Context

Perhaps at no time has there been greater actual transformation than in the last decade in the standards and styles of life. Expectations leap forward and the shape of cities and towns are transformed, while new challenges to public welfare, employment and education emerge within. Correspondingly, its material base and national dignity depend upon its economic and cultural interaction with other peoples in an increasingly global world.

  • Some countries are emerging from a period of relative isolation and there is special interest there in engaging with other philosophers in the region.
  • The overcoming of a bipolar world system has put new pressures upon the cultural identities of many nations.
  • There is concern that these identities be not only protected but engaged in the positive construction of the new millennium, and this not only in each country separately but in the region as a whole.
  • This would contribute to making room for the peoples of the region in the overall cultural as well as economic and political world system. As with any reality "organic, mechanical or social" and as the tempo and depth of this internal and external change increases there is even greater dependence upon its guidance system. A society depends upon the values of its people which shape their vision of what is desirable through many changes, and their choice of which patterns of behavior lead toward this goal.

Objective of Present Project

For this a scientific reflection is required in order to understand more adequately the values and pattern of a country's culture, the significance of the internal transformative factors and the implications of influences from other cultures. While other sciences identify what is possible, philosophy is concerned with what is desirable and how present imperatives can be integrated within a broader context in a way that enables them to have positive, rather than negative effect. Such a philosophical and social study of the pattern of cultural transformation in South East Asia today is the goal of the present project.

Moreover. as this is a matter of the emergence of the creativity of the South East Asian people as a whole it is necessary to engage in this the capabilities of the various parts of South East Asia, both to draw upon the experience of local cultures and to stimulate this level of reflection on the transformation of life in these days.

Finally, this cannot be achieved in a single stroke, but must be so structured as to enable an ongoing process of reflection and publications as the circumstances of South East Asian life unfold.

The objective of this project is then to develop a set of continuing research teams, linked for mutual critique and extending across South East Asia and into the future.

There were 66 participants at the conference including 11 scholars from America, Canada, India, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. There was one observer from Burma. On the second day of the conference Asst. Prof. Dr. Warayuth Sriwarakul was elected first President of the South East Asian Philosophical Union (SEAPU).

Reported by Graduate School of Philosophy and Religion

ABAC Today Assumption University, Thailand