Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yupparaj Wittayalai High School Goes International

Yuppparaj International Food Festival
photo credit: Sawat Chantalay

Every year during the refreshing climate of cool  'winter' season, historic Yupparaj Wittayalai High School holds its annual open day celebrations. Situated within the old city at the 3 Kings monument with its old colonial buildings and original detailed painted glass windows surrounded by some of the city's largest documented endemic trees dotted around the school grounds that once was the site of a corral that housed Royal Elephants.

Indian National Costume
photo credit: Caroline Marsh

For 2011 the theme was an International food festival supported by the British Council with students dressed in colourful national costume, dance and music promoting languages, technologies and facinating facts about all the countries represented, noted stands were that of India, Korea, France and Japan where everyone sampled traditional fare that students had prepared and served to the many 100's of visitors  including healthy and delicious chaphatis, roti and daal from India.

All departments were represented, Sally Lawrence an English teacher at Yupparaj for a number of years who recently won the best teacher award had fun quiz games set up at the gifted students stand. Sciences had some cool physics and biology exhibits. Acharn Sawat Chantalay from social sciences who is a recognised environmentalist winning many local and national awards, represented India, an additional stand displaying an excellent low carbon school initiative - the sucessful 'eat salad and vegetables' project. Meals containing vegetables, students collect a stamp and when the card's full can win a cool prize.

Eat vegetables and salad for low carbon good health!
photo credit: Caroline Marsh

This was a great event for Yupparaj Wittayalai 's students, teaching staff and president of  Yupparaj PTA, Khun Thanawat Chalermchutidej  to welcome the school's new director  Khun Wissanu Chaokaewmay and endorse the director's vision of cooperation and sustainable future for the School.

The event also welcomed representitives from consulates based in Chiang Mai including China, Japan including the French honourary consul Thomas Baude.

Holistic Environment Urban Schools Program (HEUSP) which has supported Yupparaj  social sciences department for a number of years promoting environmental awareness joined this year's event to sign up students, teachers and visitors to the 'Chiang Mai People's Pledge' more than 700 Yupparaj students have pledged to date.

The intiative started in 2010 by members of the Chiang Mai citizen's group Lanna Community Life Network (LCLN) With the Governor, the Mayor and numerous regional heads of government signed including Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and important Lanna cultural figures such as Chao Duong Duen Na Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai Royal family) who is President of the Chiang Mai Cultural Council.

Students signing up to Chiang Mai People's Pledge

photo credit: Caroline Marsh

The local foreign representitive of Great Britain, the UK honorary consul Mr.Ben Svasti Thompson signed the 'peoples's pledge' December 2010 commiting the consulate to 10 low carbon actions to reduce fossil fuel use which makes environmental, health and economic sense for all to cooperate to take Chiang Mai towards a sustainable future.

During the event the new director of Yupparaj Wittayalai showed great interest  in the initiative and a follow up appointment by members of Lanna Community Life network to pledge the school to commit to these measures so cutting carbon by a minimum 10% and supporting the new government initiative for Chiang Mai to be a low carbon city announced this 14th February 2011.

Written by Caroline Marsh

Caroline Marsh is co-founder of Chiang Mai based independent ethical tour operator .."Expertise, Ethical travel and Authentic Experiences contribute to making a difference to local communities and the environment." passionate about new experiences, travel and environmental well being she writes for travel sites, regional travel magazines and coordinates local 'grassroots' community peoples actions for a better future for all. Member of Lanna Community Life Network (LCLN)

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