Dec 20-22: Future Imperatives of Communication and Information for Development and Social Change

International Conference, Bangkok, December 20-22, 2010
Development and Social Change
The Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication
Thammasat University
Bangkok, Thailand
The Context

The exigencies of the World have been transformed by a number of recent events and discoveries. The impact of these changes is profound and is expected to radically alter future approaches to development. The current international economic crisis has already transformed the financial, industrial and manufacturing sectors; causing many people to lose their jobs and many families to suffer degradation of their well being. The wars and stringent security measures imposed by many countries following the 911 terrorist attacks on USA, and attacks elsewhere, have caused major set backs in progress towards enduring world peace that had previously seemed possible with the ending of the Cold War. Epidemiologists are now tracking the mutation of a number of viruses that have the potential to infect large numbers of people around the world, kill millions of the most vulnerable in the population, bring international travel and commerce to a standstill; stifle local economic activities in the process, and inflict major losses not only of lives but also of hard-won socio-economic security. Climatologists now have hard evidence that planetary climate change is not only raising temperatures across the world but also triggering increasing episodes of freakish weather. The severity of droughts in the dry-lands has escalated, while at the same time fierce storms and devastating floods has struck with greater frequency elsewhere. The increasing temperature has melted ice packs at the poles and on mountain tops; the melted water has begun to raise the sea-level and threaten to drown human settlements founded on flood plains and low island chains. At the same time, huge population centres across Asia that are sustained by water tapped from the major river systems fed by the snow packs on top of these mountains need to brace for declining volumes of water as the size of the snow packs have shrunk dramatically in recent years and have now retreated past safe limits that they can recover from in the long term. The evolving weather patterns will render wider areas of the world inhabitable. All this has occurred while much of past development problems remain to be solved.    

The Challenge

The problems we face regarding climate change, terrorism, pandemics, and deep fractures in world trade and commerce are unlikely to be solved quickly. Whereas in the past, we were able to increase food production over a few cropping cycles, or establish income generating ventures in a couple of years, the “new” problems we face may take years, and in the case of climate change, several generations of the world community to resolve. How do we build consensus and muster the altruistic intent of the present generation to consume less, de-escalate conflict, and subject ourselves to medical research so that future generations who will exist long after we are gone may inherit a habitable planet? The tried and tested methods of agriculture extension, social mobilization, community participation, and multi-lateral negotiation are unlikely to succeed on their own as these systemic problems grow in their severity and people submit to innate human instincts for self-preservation and compete even more keenly for rapidly dwindling natural resources, ratchet-up violence, resist Hippocratic principles to share limited supplies of vaccines and medicines, hoard energy and water, and close markets to international commerce. We do not have strategies to begin addressing these “new” and highly complex challenges.             


This conference forms part of a series of preparatory and inter-connected conferences, coordinated by ORBICOM-UNESCO Chairs in Communication, across the regions of the world to focus the attention of the most experienced and innovative information and communication scholars, practitioners and policy-makers on these new challenges towards world development and sustainability.

These strategies and methods will be synthesized in a package comprising policy-intent papers, training kits and curricula, handbook, and journal articles. The package will define the structure of a cohesive and comprehensive international response to the emerging threats and challenges that the global community will soon have to address in a coherent and systematic fashion.

·      Future imperatives regarding ecological and environmental issues and green communication
·      Future imperatives regarding communication and social development
·      Future imperatives regarding the role of journalism and mass communication on political issues

This conference is jointly coordinated by the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication  at Thammasat University, the Department of Communication at the University of Nagasaki, and the

Center ‘Communication for Sustainable Social Change’ (CSSC) at UMass Amherst.

For more information, contact:
Prof.  Jan Servaes
Director, Center ‘Communication for Sustainable Social Change’ (CSSC)
University of Massachusetts
Machmer Hall 415
Amherst, MA 01003, USA
Tel: +1 413 545 4314/3532
Fax: +1 413 545 6399


Joel Gershon
The Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication
Thammasat University
2 Tha Pra-Chan Rd.,
Bangkok 10200, Thailand

 Piya  Pongsapitaksanti, Ph.D.   

The Department of Information and Media Studies,
Faculty of Global Communication, University of Nagasaki,
1-1-1 Manabino, Nagayo-cho, Nishisonogi-gun,
Nagasaki-pref 851-2195 Japan