Thailand Talks 2022

Thailand Talks returned for the second time on September 24, 2022. Over 200 conversations took place around the country, including a live event in Bangkok.

Oct 6, 2022

By Sara Cooper

On September 24, 120 people participated in the second edition of Thailand Talks, hosted in Bangkok by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. In addition to the live event, more dozens of people met privately all over the country – in cafés, community spaces, libraries or on video calls.

Again this year, the majority of the participants enjoyed challenge of dialoguing with a partner with contrary opinions. The organizers received very positive feedback, and many said are looking forward to return next year. Many participants also expressed that Thailand Talks is the only event providing a platform for people who have different views to talk to each other.

Among questions that participants discussed this year, the most controversial were “Will the next five years in Thailand be better?” (70% said yes) and “Should freedom of expression come with (cultural) appropriateness?” (75% said yes). Participants were most unified in their opinions on the right to access medical death treatments (89% in favor), and whether the government should protect the monarchy (11% in favor).

Most of the pairs stayed in the conversation for longer than two hours and found a safe space to discuss freely about political and social issues.

Looking back at Thailand Talks 2021

ZEIT ONLINE covered the conversation between two participants of Thailand Talks 2021. Thanan and Uangfon disagreed on four questions, including the role of religion in schools, election reform, and how Thailand is managing the economy after covid. Through their discussion, their attitudes and personal histories give a glimpse into complicated and divided Thai politics.

“In tourism advertising, the tropical country likes to present itself as a harmonious "land of smiles". But in reality, society has been deeply divided for decades - and has not yet found a way to mend the rift.” - Mathias Peer, excerpt from ZEIT ONLINE

Read the full article (in German) here

Thailand Talks in 2022 was a collaboration between seven regional and national media outlets across Thailand. You can find more coverage of the program and updates at Thailandtalks.org.

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