Thailand is known for its idyllic beaches, over 200 tropical islands, and temperate waters filled with abundant underwater life including sea turtles. It also features verdant forests filled with cascading waterfalls and endangered species like tigers, elephants, and pangolins. It’s not a stretch to understand why Thailand is one of the most visited destinations in the world.
UC Irvine Impact Academy students are based in Chiang Mai, a location in the North of Thailand. It is often frequented by international visitors looking for a more peaceful alternative to Bangkok. Travelers can visit the gilded Buddhist temple complexes situated all around the city, visit the waterfalls and forests in the nearby National Park, and experience northern Thai culture by taking a stroll through a marketplace.
One of Thailand’s main conservation and development challenges is sustainably managing tourism while leveraging the economic opportunities it affords. Thailand is one of the countries that researchers have found to be disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and local organizations are working to solve the conservation and social issues this has caused.
They also work on a range of social challenges, including creating awareness around how to prevent non-communicable illnesses like diabetes and how to equalize gender inequalities as well as urban-rural educational quality gaps.
- Investigate the challenges faced during initiatives working to assist farmers with implementing more sustainable land clearing methods.
- Study how educational awareness campaigns around alcohol and tobacco use, and fat, salt and sugar consumption are used to prevent non-communicable diseases.
- Examine why internationally inspired pedagogical practices are inappropriate in Thai teaching contexts and what actually works.
- Analyze the work done by traditional elephant-keeping communities in partnership with international funders to change their economic model from elephant tourism to ecotourism.