Earth Trusteeship Forum group photo. From right to left fourth seated: Raul Montenegro.




– South East Asia campus of the Right Livelihood College –

Presents the Chulalongkorn University Right Livelihood Summerschool (CURLS) 7 – 22 July 2019

with Wongsanit Ashram creative retreat, academic exchanges at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, action research in rural Chiang Mai province and


19 – 21 JULY


The Earth Trusteeship Forum will include the 2019 Right Livelihood Lecture by Prof. Raúl Montenegro, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (The ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) and Prof. of Evolutionary Biology, University of Cordoba, Argentina. 

Friday 19 July the 150 Years Mahatama Gandhi lecture will be delivered by Dato Anwar Fazal, Malaysia, founder Right Livelihood College. Aneesh Thillenkery will replace Rajagopal P.V., India, and introduce the “JAI JAGAT 2020” march New Delhi – Geneva.


Scroll down for tentative schedule 19 – 21 July.


In a world with overwhelming globalization, one extractive economic system dominating human behavior, and governance structures not matching the challenges of the anthropocene, humanity has to redefine citizenship, property and its relationship with Nature, including recognition of Nature Rights. New approaches of “business for the common good”, a circular economy as well as vibrant “commons” and land rights movements towards regenerative agriculture and healthy landscaping are emerging. While a framework of contemporary engaged spirituality rooted in the consciousness of one “Earth Community” is growing. The notion of Earth Trusteeship is considered a corner stone in a process of transformation, enabling a “turning point” towards genuine sustainability and inclusive social justice. Earth Trusteeship urgently needs further articulation and an innovative effort towards creative strategies for advocacy.

The transformation process towards Earth Trusteeship also implies addressing overdue reform of the United Nations. Therefore a broad partnership that connects with the campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly is proposed (see: “Appeal” to include Earth Trusteeship in the discussion on a Global Pact for the Environment).

The Indian organization Ekta Parishad organizes a “Jai Jagat 2020” march from New Delhi (and many places from all over the world) to Geneva for the Geneva People’s Action Forum 25 September – 3 October 2020.

Tentative definition Earth Trusteeship

Earth Trusteeship can be tentatively defined as: a whole of legal rights and responsibilities (embedded in local, national and international legal systems), arising from the awareness that humanity is the leading entity of the community of life, of which it is integral part. Subsequently the dignity of human beings as Earth Trustees implies that due care will be taken for Earth as a community, in light of the wellbeing of future generations. (Global) citizenship can be re-defined from this perspective. Modes of property and governance can be shaped from the perspective of equal “trustee obligations”, rights and responsibilities of global citizens and their institutions, towards the wellbeing of the Earth community and future generations. A broadly shared understanding of Earth Trusteeship will address the search for meaning and pursuit of happiness, determining the destiny of humanity.

Evolution of an Earth Trusteeship Initiative

The Earth Trusteeship programme builds upon the legacy of Judge Christopher Weeramantry, Sri Lanka, (1926 – 2017) who was a visionary Vice President of the International Court of Justice, and co-founder of the World Future Council. Judge Weeramantry received the Right Livelihood Award in 2007. He postulated that consensus can be established among world religions and indigenous philosophies, confirming that “humanity is in a position of trusteeship of the environment and not in a position of dominance”. He was the opinion that this carries weight as customary international law and can be a foundation for international law innovation, complementing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The spirit of trusteeship had been demonstrated since ancient times by farmers and communities in Sri Lanka by developing a sophisticated system of irrigation based on collaboration, self-restraint and conscious inter-dependence.

In 2016 the School for Wellbeing Studies and Research published its book titled The Wellbeing Society. A Radical Middle Path to Global Transformation in which Earth Trusteeship was explored. In April 2017, at the UN Headquarters, New York, Klaus Bosselmann, Professor of Law, Auckland University, delivered a speech in the framework of the annual UN General Assembly dialogue on “Harmony with Nature” titled: The Next Step: Earth t(T)rusteeship. In July 2017 a first roundtable on Earth Trusteeship was organized by the School for Wellbeing at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Historic perspective

Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), “Rio 1992”, sustainability became a central aim of policy development. This resulted in various transformative initiatives including the Earth Charter (2000), Earth Democracy (2005), the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (2010) and various initiatives on Rights of Nature (Ecuador, New Zealand, India). These initiatives emerged parallel with the “the commons” movement which was rendered academic stature by Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize 2009. A further evolutionary path is now being explored, including reform of the UN.

Partnership co-creation

The forum will be organised by the School for Wellbeing Studies and Research in partnership with:

  • Chulalongkorn University, Thailand – Wellbeing Studies Programme: Chulalongkorn University (Chula Global Network) – Royal University of Bhutan – Right Livelihood College – Sathirakoses Nagapradipa Foundation
  • CU Social Research Institute (CUSRI)
  • Earth Trusteeship Platform and Earth Trusteeship Initiative (ETI).
  • Jai Jagat 2020 march from New Delhi to Geneva / Ekta Parishad, India
  • Right Livelihood College with campuses in five continents
  • International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) with interreligious partners
  • Interreligious Climate and Environment network (ICE)
  • Towards Organic Asia (TOA)
  • German –Southeast  Asian Center of Excellence for Public Policy and Good Governance (CPG)
  • Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA)
  • CCFD Terre Solidaire
  • The Earth Charter Initiative
  • the Environmental Law and Governance Association (ELGA)
  • Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia
  • The Network of Religious and Traditional Paecemakers
  • Others (your organization)

Aims and objectives of the second Earth Trusteeship Forum and partnership co-creation

  • To provide creative space for inspirational exchanges and dialogue on Earth Trusteeship and active support for on-the-ground engagement with campaigns including for sustainable food citizenship
  • To reflect on Earth Trusteeship from the perspective of various academic disciplines, civil society engagement, the responsible business sector; as well as from the wisdom messages of diverse world religions and indigenous philosophies as constituents of customary international law. [2]
  • Exploring the transformative impact of advocacy by an Earth Trusteeship Platform within frameworks such as the Global Pact for the Environment, the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the Geneva People’s Action Forum 2020, Agenda 2030 and in particular SDGs 16 and 17.

Expected outcome

  • Co-creative partnership supported by an informal, diverse, but effective Earth Trusteeship Platform with global, regional and local networks.

Institution building in academic framework

  • Co-design of a 10 year plan for the School for Wellbeing Studies and Research, established in 2009, is emerging. In particular an Asia-Europe Centre for Social Innovation, Arts & Media (AEC-SIAM) at Chulalongkorn University is (tentatively) shaping up.

Step-by-step development process

The second Earth Trusteeship Forum, 19 – 21 July 2019 in Bangkok, follows the first Forum and launch of the Earth Trusteeship Initiative in The Hague, 10 December 2018. The launch was held at the occasion of “70 Years Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. The second Earth Trusteeship Forum will be the concluding event of the two weeks CURLS summer school. Participants can register for the Forum only.

The second Earth Trusteeship Forum precedes the Asia celebrations of “40 Years Right Livelihood Award” to be co-organised early Spring 2020 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. It is anticipated that a chain of activities, projects, public events and programmes will be initiated by partners with the aim to forge together a turning point towards an ecologically sustainable and socially just world.

Resource persons’ engagement

Resource persons and participants are being invited from various sectors: academia, civil society, peoples’ movements, pioneers of engaged spirituality, international organisations, NGO and governmental policy makers, the media, the responsible business sector and social entrepreneurs. They are invited to actively engage in a three day process, in a long term collaborative perspective marked by “10 Years School for Wellbeing”.

Resource persons in process of invitation (bold = confirmed):

Patron: Sulak Sivaraksa (Thailand). Right Livelihood Lecture: Raúl Montenegro (Argentina). International Law and Governance: Klaus Bosselmann (New Zealand), Neshan Gunasekera (Sri Lanka), Alide Roerink (the Netherlands), Dasho Karma Ura (Bhutan), Pipope Panichpakdi (Thailand), TPBS, Suntariya Muanpawong (Thailand), Aneesh Thillenkery (India), Netiwit Chotipathphaisal (Thailand), student activist, Jan van de Venis (the Netherlands), Gunjan Singh (India), Diana Archer, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Mike Hayes (Australia/Thailand), Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University. Wisdom Traditions, World Religions and Nature Rights: Phra Win Mektripop (Thailand), Anwar Fazal (Malaysia), Katherine Marshall, (USA), Alissa Wahid (Indonesia), Yeb Saño (Pillippines), Harsha Navaratne (Sri Lanka), Somboon Chungprampree (Thailand). Chulalongkorn University and CURLS 2019 – School for Wellbeing Home Team: Suthipand Chirathiwat, Prapart Pintobtang, Jirayudh Sinthuphan, Surichai Wung’aeo, Chantana Wung’aeo, Surat Horachaikul, Wallapa van Willenswaard, Anant Narkkong Tammai Ensemble, Anupan Pluckpankhajee, Narumon Paiboonsittikun, Kanyanat Lertkhonsan Theatre and Dance consultants / student volunteers: Marieke Vingerhoets and Jansje Flügge (the Netherlands). Action Research: CUSRI team and Hans van Willenswaard (Thailand / the Netherlands). Field Study: Mathana Aphaimool and Chiang Mai Team (see separate page with bio-data; and tentative schedule below).

School for Wellbeing

The School for Wellbeing is an independent action research platform established 20 August 2009 as a follow-up to the Third International Conference on Gross National Happiness (“GNH3”) organized in Thailand two years earlier.

From 2014 onwards the School for Wellbeing continued as an independent platform, while Chulalongkorn University (CU) initiated the Wellbeing Studies Programme including four partners: CU, the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), the Right Livelihood College (RLC) and SNF. The Wellbeing Studies Programme and School for Wellbeing closely work together.

In 2018 the School for Wellbeing became the ninth campus of the Right Livelihood College. Other Right Livelihood College campuses are based in Germany, Sweden, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chili, Argentina, USA and India.

The major activities of the School for Wellbeing are:

  • ‘CURLS’ annual Chulalongkorn University Right Livelihood Summerschool, with Right Livelihood public lecture
  • Towards Organic Asia (TOA) partnership
    • Mindful Markets Asia Forum and social enterprise course
    • Capacity building and Young Organic Farmers (YOF)
    • Action Research and Advocacy
    • Technical support (organic seeds)
  • New Spirit project on educational reform (Suan Nguen Mee Ma social enterprise)
  • Earth Trusteeship programme

CURLS 2019 summer school

The annual CURLS summer school will be held 7 – 21 July 2018. The Earth Trusteeship Forum at Chulalongkorn University (CU), 19 – 21 July, will be the concluding module.

Other modules are a creative retreat at Wongsanit Ashram, 40 km from Bangkok. The “ashram” is a unique alternative learning centre founded by Right Livelihood Award laureate Sulak Sivaraksa more than 25 years ago. A module on Ecology and Theatre Research will be held at the CU campus in the city centre of Bangkok, including an excursion to a rice farm in an area near Bangkok famous for its “commons” philosophy.

The module at CU prepares the group of among 24 CURLS participants for the participatory action research module in Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand. This module includes interaction with a farmers’ group practicing organic agriculture; with local seeds production and regional seeds exchanges.

The final module will bring the group back to Bangkok for the Earth Trusteeship Forum, 19 – 21 July, with public CURLS presentations, cultural programme and future envisioning at Chulalongkorn University. During the two weeks summer school participants work on the design of their own future projects, and networking in the Right Livelihood College and Right Livelihood Award laureates’ context.                                 

Tentative Schedule




Friday 19 July

Arrivals and 150 Years Mahatma Gandhi
Public lecture “Invoking the Spirit of
by Dato Anwar Fazal, Malaysia, Founder Right Livelihood College.
Dialogue with CURLS participants and
introduction of “JAI JAGAT 2020 – On The Move For Justice and Peace”. with Aneesh Thillenkery representing Rajagopal P.V., India. Closing remarks by Dr. Swatee Banerjee and Dr. Victor Karunan.
16.00 – 17.00 Music & Welcome Reception
17.00 – 18.00 Purpose and Programme Design by
Oganisers. Introductions of Resource Persons and Forum Participants.
18.00 – 20.00 Welcome Dinner

Saturday 20 July

09.00 – 09.30 Opening and Music
09.30 – 10.30 Right Livelihood Lecture by
Raúl Montenegro, Argentina
Science, Indigenous Worldviews and our
Perceptions of Governing Challenges
10.30 – 11.15 Presentation by CURLS 2019 participants
11.15 – 11.45 Break
11.45 – 13.00 Panel 1 – WHO OWNS THE EARTH?
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.00 Panel 2 – Environmental Law and Transformational Social Movements
15.00 – 16.00 World Café
16.00 – 17.00 Panel 3 – Human Rights and Climate Justice
17.00 – 18.00 World Café
18.00 – 18.30 Conclusions and Ideas
19.00 – 21.00 Tammai Ensemble and Dinner

Sunday 21 July

09.00 – 10.00 Inter-cultural Invocation with a diversity of
pioneers of Engaged Spirituality
10.00 – 11.30 Panel 4 – Intercultural Consensus
Building on Earth Trusteeship. Illusion or groundbreaking Customary International Law?
11.30 – 12.30 World Café
12.30 – 13.00 Conclusions
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.30 Open space for review and future planning in small groups
15.30 – 16.00
16.00 – 17.00

Schedule CURLS 2019:

Chulalongkorn University Right Livelihood Summerschool CURLS 2019

7 – 22 July 2019

Module IAcademic analysis and Ecology, Arts & Theatre experience

7 July Arrivals
8 – 9 July Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
  Academic analysis and start Ecology, Arts & Theatre project: research design workshop

Module IIIndividual project design

10 July Welcome at Wongsanit Ashram
11 – 12 July Shaping individual project ideas; principles of theatre improvisation, visual arts and
(Travel to Chiang Mai 12 – 13 July night)

Module IIIParticipatory Action Research

13 – 17 July Mae Tha, Chiang Mai Province
  Participatory Action Research (PAR)
experience on organic seeds production and
farmers’ – consumers’ networks
  Klong Yong, near Bangkok
  Organic rice farming and farm community

Module IV Forum and CURLS 2019 presentation

18 July Chulalongkorn University; rehearsal
CURLS presentation and set-up exhibition
19 – 21 July Earth Trusteeship Forum
22 July Evaluation and Departures

[1] Prepared during the International Earth Trusteeship Gathering, 22-24 June 2018 at Elisabeth Vreedehuis, The Hague.

[2] As stated by Judge C.G. Weeramantry (1926 – 2017), former Vice President, International Court of Justice