Sulak Sivaraksa is a Thai intellectual and activist, who has played a leading role in the mobilisation of Thailand’s civil society. His life-long activism has involved the creation of a string of social welfare and development organisations; the proposal of alternatives to consumerism; and his concern for democracy, human rights and accountable government.
His work has been able to inspire people beyond the borders of Thailand and his concept of development has been of great influence worldwide. However, Sivaraksa’s activism has repeatedly brought him into conflict with the local authorities. He has spent time in jail after being charged with lèse majesté and has had to flee Thailand on several occasions. However, he has never lost his determination to mobilise Thai civil society.
He is credited with starting the country’s indigenous NGO movement through his creation of a string of social welfare and development organisations rooted in different aspects of Thai society. Running through these organisations is an emphasis on the importance of the spiritual and religious dimension of human life, rooted in his own deep Buddhist sensibility.
Through his prolific writings and speeches, at home and abroad, as well as through his activism and organisational initiatives, Sivaraksa’s concept of development has been of great influence worldwide.