Category Archives: cultural diversity

Consultations in Chiang Mai

After I have breakfast in a restaurant close to the guesthouse I call Chris. Chris is Swiss citizen and works as Asia Officer for the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), an international NGO from Denmark. He picks me up, I rent a moto scooter and we ride to his office, which is also is home, a bit outside of town. It takes me some time to get used to driving on the left side of the road. Meanwhile some people have started already splashing water at us, which is quite refreshing given the overall fairly hot temperatures.

I meet Chris’ wife (unfortunately I forgot her name), who is an indigenous person from the Naga in Manipur, India. We discuss for some time. Later Jannie joins us, indigenous, too, Kadazan from Sabah in Malaysia. Jannie is Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), a regional network of indigenous organizations. Their office is just on the other side of the road.

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Thesis Finalized and Internship at the ILO in Geneva

I finalized my thesis titled “The Theory of Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity in Cambodia” about two weeks ago. The final version is significantly different from the one I put up here on my page and I am happy to send it to anybody interested in it. Just write to stefan.ehrentraut(at) (replace ‘(at)’ with ‘@’). After my last examination in late September I will start working as an intern at the International Labour Organization in Geneva for six months, in their Project to Promote ILO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. Since this project has been and will be involved in Cambodia, I hope to be able to promote the case of Indigenous Peoples here. After the internship, I hope to have a chance to return to Cambodia.
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“The Theory of Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity in Cambodia” (First Draft)

I have spend the last month writing on my final thesis about indigenous peoples in Cambodia. The text has grown in size and scope significantly. The current working title is “The Theory of Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity in Cambodia”.

The aim of the thesis is to discuss and assess the rights of cultural minorities in Cambodia in the light of Western liberal theories of multiculturalism. More precisely, the thesis compares and contrasts Will Kymlicka’s theory of multicultural citizenship with the situation and aspirations of indigenous peoples in Cambodia. By doing so, I hope to justify and make plausible specific rights for indigenous peoples, in particular some measure of self-government rights and special representation rights.

Today I finished the first draft of the text. There are still some formal problems and minor inconsistencies in the argumentation. However, I think feedback would be most valuable at this point of the process, where I have still time to accommodate comments and considerations regarding the overall argumentation and structure of the text. Therefore, I make the text available here, as word document (788kb) and .pdf file (631kb). Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

“The Theory of Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity in Cambodia”(Word)

“The Theory of Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity in Cambodia”(PDF)

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Article: “UNICEF calls on governments to ensure rights of indigenous children”

Recently, I found a number of articles about the situation of indigenous peoples world wide. Not least the following one, which surprisingly mentions indigenous peoples in Cambodia. So I thought I post it here. Moreover, as I keep reading many articles related in different ways to cultural diversity, I decided to make the relevant pieces available in this blogg.
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Mondulkiri Fourth Day: Pouloung village, Sreiomboum village, Bou Sra

We get up at 7 am and have breakfast in the guesthouse, before we go to the market and buy food and water. To make sure we don’t get stuck we find a mechanic, have the oil checked and fill up the motos.

Then we head northeast to Bou Sra. We never rode north on this road before and I am surprised that right behind the first hill it is getting rougher than most we have seen yesterday. We cross a small river on an improvised bridge and are charged 500 Riel each by a bunch of kids.
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Research Report: Indigenous Peoples and Decentralization in Cambodia

I should have mentioned here that I left Cambodia already about five weeks ago. Yet among other things I keep writing on various papers on indigenous peoples and decentralization in Cambodia. This is happening somewhat slowly, as I have other obligations, too. I decided to split my report into two parts: a research report and a final report. The research report summarizes the results of the empirical study, that is, interviews in the field. The final report is supposed to put those findings into the context of international law, political theory and development debate. I just finalized the first draft of the research report and thought I should make it available here. Any feedback is highly welcome. And I should mention that I intend to travel to Cambodia again in about three weeks from today.

This is the research report:
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Forth Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province

Today is Saturday. As usual we do not care much about the weekend and intend to visit another indigenous village. So after we had breakfast we take a taxi and travel about half an hour north to meet the Chairman of the associated Commune Council.

We meet this guy and than drive together another thirty minutes before we reach the place where we take a boat.

This is on the way.

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Third Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province

Again we kick of early in the morning and meet the government guy and the driver for breakfast in town. We learn that the government guy won’t have time to give us company today. This is not to bad, particularly for the credibility of the interviews. Moreover, he did not seem to find it very relevant what we are doing here.

However, Reaksa, my translator brings one of his friends who wants to visit the villages. I met this guy the other day and he turned out to be a converted Christian working for Seven Day Adventist. We had a long discussion about religion in which I tried to make the case for Buddhism while he is preaching the gospel trying to persuade me that there is only one god. Although this is entertaining I feel this guy is a believing crusader. And I have seen and heard about many Christian organizations particularly in Rattanakiri trying to make indigenous peoples change their culture and give up their superstitious beliefs. I do not think that this is the most urgent think they need at this point.

Given this situation and the fact that nobody bothers to tell me what exactly he wants to do there I cannot but make very clear that I am more than happy to give him a ride. However, what will not happen is that he participates in interview. And I tell him that the bible will remain in the car and that he won’t preach the gospel at any rate in the village where we conduct interviews. The bottom line is I do not want missionaries to interfere with my research. We have some argument and after I explain my reason I get some limited agreement.

Soon we are in the car and back on the road again.

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