On day nine of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our tour party spent the night at Swaraj University, a more structured educational off-shoot of Shikshantar. The Swaraj University campus sits in a tranquil 15-acre space located in a scenic valley between two mountain ranges, 15 kilometers outside of Udaipur. The site is a zero-waste space and has an organic farm, herb gardens and an Ayurvedic healing centre.
On day eight of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our group collaborated in a day of permaculture discussions and garden work with our friends at Shikshantar. In a co-creative process, the CERES Global group and members of the Shikshantar community learned about permaculture ethics and design principles, explored visions for the garden on the Shikshantar premises, and got our hands dirty working on innovations to bring the garden to life, building relationships and learning new things about ourselves and each other in the process. However, our yield from the day was not necessarily what we expected going in.
It is not often one comes away absolutely mesmerised from talking to a person, but such was our experience on this day. On day seven of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, a small number of our group visited with Kishore Saint, a retired geographer and friend of Shikshantar. Kishore-gi shared with us some of his life experiences living in Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom, reflected on insights into community he gained from interacting with tribal peoples in Rajasthan, and concluded with an exhortation for us to change the world by looking within ourselves.
On day six of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a municipal waste dump on the outskirts of Udaipur. Dump sites are always the dirty little secret of industrial development and commerce. They are the hidden landscapes of every city, a landscape so toxic and forbidding to life. In the Udaipur dump site, however, a community of “rag pickers” live and work in the mounds of refuse, earning a living from picking and selling recyclable materials from the waste piles.
On day four of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a small-scale organic farm and a migrating camel caravan on our way back to Udaipur from Malari village. In these engagements our group learned more about traditional organic farming and animal husbandry methods, along with the unique cultures of our hosts. Their hospitality in sharing food and friendship was greatly appreciated, a model of gift culture in action.
On day four of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited a village called Malari, 100 km north of Udaipur. In a day of fascinating interactions, we learned about the local dairy and herding economies, got some hands-on experience with local farming practices, enjoyed warm impromptu hospitality from our village hosts, and shared in a transcendental experience of dance and music.
On day three of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India, our guides from Shikshantar—Vishal, Manish and Nishtha—led us on a fascinating journey through the old city of Udaipur. The winding alleyways, bustling markets, colourful buildings and diverse people, are collectively woven together in a rich tapestry of stories and history. On foot is the best way to experience the richness of these stories and notice things you never would have time to see transiting via faster modes of transportation.
On day two of our CERES Global Sustainable Development, Permanent Culture and Un-learning tour to India we visited the Shikshantar People’s Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development. Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalysing radical transformation of education. Shikshantar was founded as a jeevan andolan (life movement) to challenge the hierarchical, colonial culture of education.
From 2nd-12th December 2017 I co-facilitated a CERES Global tour to India, themed around sustainable development, permanent culture and un-learning. My focus for the tour was to collect data for […]
From 26th June – 9th July 2017 I co-facilitated an environment and sustainability-themed study tour to South Korea with undergraduate students from La Trobe University. This is the third iteration […]
On 29th November 2017 Dr Benjamin Habib conducted a workshop on his research into permaculture as a transnational social movement at the 2017 International Permaculture Convergence, hosted at Polam Farm […]
An abridged version of this article was published in The Conversation, 28 September 2017. — In the outdoor section of the Seoul War Memorial Museum, you will find a battery […]
In this edition of the Asia Rising Podcast, Matt Smith talks with Dr Benjamin Habib and Prof Nick Bisley about the latest developments in Korean Peninsula nuclear politics. A North […]
Stephen Stockwell, host of Hack on Triple J radio, interviews Dr Benjamin Habib on President Trump’s threat of raining “fire and fury” on North Korea, in response to reports that the […]
Evangelina Moisi, Associate Features Editor for E-International Relations, interviews Dr Benjamin Habib about his work on environmental politics and North Korean affairs. See the original interview here at E-International Relations. […]
By Benjamin Habib, La Trobe University and Viktor Faulknor, La Trobe University. — China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a multifaceted economic, diplomatic and geopolitical undertaking that has morphed […]
It was my pleasure to be guest speaker at the United Nations Association of Australia, Victorian Division’s Model UN conference on “Combating Climate Change: Committing to Global Action” at […]
Dr Benjamin Habib from La Trobe University and Dr Elizabeth Thurbon from the University of New South Wales join Melissa Conley Tyler from the Australian Institute of International Affairs in […]
Pundits often cite the North Korean regime’s crimes against its citizens as proof of Kim Jong-un’s irrationality as a leader. These crimes, as exhaustively documented by former High Court justice […]
As the USS Carl Vinson and its carrier battle group steam through the Pacific toward the Korean Peninsula, many are wondering if the Trump administration could be so rash as […]