Classes and field trips at the EarthRights School are facilitated by a diverse range of teachers and lecturers who represent deep knowledge and practical experience with human rights and environmental issues. In addition to ERI’s staff, these national and international experts represent lawyers, community organizers, academics, researchers, journalists and campaigners. They lead workshops on development issues, environmental campaigning, theories of change, use of media, report writing, mapping and map-making, and interviewing and fact-finding skills.
ERI’s own staff come to the classroom with a breadth of experience from their careers in human rights and environmental issues, from helping to found sustainable development and civil society organizations in Myanmar to working on a 30-year campaign to defend one of the last golden teak forests in Thailand.
Dr. Carl Middleton is Deputy Director for International Research in the Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) and a lecturer with the MA in International Development Studies Program (MAIDS) in the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. His research interests are environmental justice and the political ecology of water and energy resources. He is the Project Lead for the Salween Fellowship program.
Toshi (Toshiyuki Doi)
Toshiyuki Doi (Toshi) is Mekong Watch’s Senior Advisor. Mekong Watch is a Tokyo-based environmental advocacy NGO. The organization’s work is to combine research and advocacy to address and prevent the negative environmental and social impacts of development in the Mekong Region. With his organization especially concerned about the lack of consultation with affected communities in development planning and implementation and the role Japanese financing. By contacting communities directly, Toshi and his colleagues try to bridge the information and communication gaps between them and decision-makers in Japan.Toshi is interested specially in Language in Development, Sociolinguistics and Endangered Language.
Mr. Nov Pisethworked as a Program Assistant at the Land and Housing Rights Unit, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also has experience as a lawyer with the Community Legal Education Center in Phnom Penh, where he advocated for community rights in land dispute cases. Piseth graduated from the ERS Mekong School in 2008, and earned a Masters in Law from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn is a German-Bolivian theatre maker, facilitator, script writer and director who uses different forms of interactive, participatory theatre to work with communities in conflict and create possibilities for bottom-up dialogue and a search for grassroots solutions.Hjalmar has carried out community-based theatre initiatives in more than a dozen countries on all five continents including in (post-) conflict environments such as Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Timor Leste and Yemen. He is the co-founder of the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization (AHRDO), a community-based theatre platform in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General of FIDH, the Coordinator of ALTSEAN-Burma
Debbie Stothard is an active promoter of human rights in Burma and the Asean region. In 1996, she founded the Alternative Asean Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma). During her 32 year career, she has worked as a journalist, community education consultant, governmental advisor and trainer in Malaysia, Australia and Thailand.
Paul Donowitz is a consultant for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Yangon, Myanmar. He previously led the Campaigns Team at EarthRights International.
Mueda is the founder and coordinator of the Mekong Youth Assembly with support from Terre Des Hommes Germany, connecting and strengthening environmental youth-led networks to work cross-border in the Mekong region. She also provides legal counsel and training for stateless people at the Development Center for Children and Community (DCCN) in Mae Hong Son Province. She holds a B.A. in law from Payap University in Chiang Mai. As a former stateless person herself, Mueda is a campaigner for stateless people’s rights, and is concerned with the impacts of large-scale development projects on stateless people.
Sathan works at the Legal Advocacy Center for Indigenous Communities based in Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son, supporting Thai and Karen communities affected by the Salween Dams and land rights issues. He has also served as Environment Protection Coordinator at the Development Center for Children and Community Network (DCCN) in Sop Moey District, Mae Hong Son Province. He has over twenty years’ experience leading campaigns against the Salween Dams, and has worked extensively with communities along the Salween to raise awareness of the rights of indigenous people to participate in decision-making around large-scale development projects.
Dawan, community leader of Khlong Dan, is known for her key role in exposing corruption and environmental impact of the Khlong Dan waste water treatment plant project that funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). One of the factors that put a stop to the project was the tough and unyielding effort of the Khlong Dan community and housewife-turned-activist DawanChantarahesde. Dawan led a decade-long protest and exposed the dirty business of Khlong Dan — from the illegal land purchase to corruption in implementation and construction — until the projectwas cancelled when it was 95% completed.
Pianporn Deetes (Pai)
Pai is Thailand and Burma Campaigns Director at International Rivers. Based in the Mekong Region, Ms. Deetes’ work focuses on protecting the Mekong River from dams proposed for its mainstream, and in particular on Thailand’s role as dam developer and the main intended market for the hydroelectricity. Before joining International Rivers in 2010, Ms. Deetes spent seven years as coordinator of the Thai NGO Living Rivers Siam (SEARIN), working to empower communities living alongside the Mekong and Salween rivers to protect their rivers, rights and livelihoods, and to stop destructive dams. Ms. Deetes has a Bachelor’s degree in English and is an Ashoka Fellow.
The mother-turned-activist is known as a Mae Moh victims’ network leader, and is respected as one of the leading female environmental campaigners in the country. It started personally. Maliwan’s motivation to stand up began with the sickness of her son and problems with her breathing. During the past decade, Maliwan has led villagers in Mae Moh to lodge six petitions to courts against Egat. In 2007, she went to Japan with Greenpeace to protest against the Asian Development Bank, which partially finances the power plant project. Her movement won all cases for health compensation, halting of a mine expansion, crop damage compensation, water contamination, reforestation of old lignite mines, and the protection of a 13-million-year-old freshwater snail fossil.
Ms. Ross supports International Rivers’ efforts to stop destructive dams on the mainstream of the Mekong River. She works closely with the Save the Mekong coalition and regional networks of affected-communities and NGOs working to protect the vital lifeline of the Mekong region. Previous to joining Southeast Asia team for International Rivers, she led International Rivers’ involvement in the campaign to stop dams in Chilean Patagonia and provided support for organization’s work in the Amazon, Mesoamerica, South Asia andSoutheast Asia in her role as Program Associate. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice.
Mark is Mekong Regional Coordinator at Inclusive Development International in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Mark has lived in Asia since 2006, including four years in Cambodia and four in China. During his time in Cambodia, Mark worked as an advisor at Bridges Across Borders Cambodia, supporting the development of the organization’s community legal and human rights awareness program, developing curriculum, and conducting critical research to support the organization’s advocacy work. He has extensive experience investigating specific investment projects, unpacking the links between companies and their financial backers. He closely follows trends in both private and state-backed investment in Southeast Asia, and has particular expertise in the relationship between China and the mainland Mekong region. Mark’s research uncovering links between harmful investments in the Mekong and financial backers around the globe has resulted in major breakthroughs in land rights cases in the region.
Niwatis an activist who has been working on Mekong issues for several decades. He sees his advocacy as a way to make people ‘appreciate Mekong from the heart.’ It was this belief that led him, together with several like-minded friends, to establish the Chiang Khong-based Natural Resources and Culture Conservation Network.Niwat is involvements in campaigns to stoprapid blasting on theMekong River and to stop the Mekong mainstream dams and was one of key players in the successful campaign to stop the expansion of a Special Economic Zone into the Ban Boun Reuangcommunit forest.
Hannah El Silimy
Hannah is Co-founder and Director of Weaving Bonds Across Borders, a global network that connects and empowers young leaders and communities working for peace and justice. Hannah is a trainer and consultant for peace and social justice who has worked with youth, activists, and community based groups in Southeast Asia, the U.S., U.K., and the Middle East since 2004. She worked in Thailand from 2009 until 2013 with peacebuilding, environmental and human rights groups and coordinated training programs for EarthRights International. She believes in the importance of working with youth and grassroots communities using an empowerment based approach, as well as linking peacebuilding with social movements for justice and equality.
Mackenzie has experience coordinating environmental education and human rights programs for Burmese activists at the NEED school in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is currently a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, USA.
Tom Weerachat works at the International Accountability Project, a human rights advocacy organization that seeks to end forced eviction and create new global policy and practice for development that respects people’s homes, environment and human rights. Tom studied International Relations at Chiang Mai University, and has worked as Mekong Alumni Coordinator at EarthRights International. He has several years’ experience in youth and development organizing. He served on the Youth Advisory Panel of the United National Population Fund, and on the Regional Focal Team for the ASEAN Youth Forum. Tom Weerachat is a trainer, a teacher, a traveler, and a Mekong activist.
Jocelyn Medallo Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Accountability Project. She is a Filipino-American environment and human rights lawyer. Before joining International Accountability Project, Jocelyn was a Senior Attorney for the Center for International Environmental Law, in Washington, DC, where she led their policy advocacy work to ensure that development finance is rights-respecting, protects the environment, and provides recourse for communities harmed by development projects. Previously, she worked in Thailand on “urban refugee” issues and in Cambodia on advocacy related to development-induced displacement. In Cambodia, she supported a team in training land activists to defend their rights against destructive development projects and conducted research on Cambodia’s burgeoning extractives industry.
Shining is a professional in the field of peacebuilding and environmental advocacy from Shan State, Burma. She is an ERS Mekong School alumna, and has a Master of Arts in International Development Studies from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and a second Masters degree in the field of Sustainable Natural Resources Management from the University for Peace, Costa Rica. She worked for four years at EarthRights International’s Mekong School and served as the School Training Coordinator and Alumni Program Coordinator. Currently, she is also serving as a board member at Kwah Dao Organization which is based in Pai, Thailand. She is interested in the intersection of peace and conflict transformation, human rights and environmental issues in the Mekong region.