The Mahasarakham University and four other Thai and International organizations (Mahasarakham University, SEAMEO-SPAFA, Taksin University, Central University of Jharkhand, India) has successfully presented the first and second Storytelling Festivals in Thailand in 2013 and 2014. These events have brought together world renowned international storytellers and story-lovers young and old from many countries, particularly those from ASEAN countries together. The events have provided joy and fun as well as mutual cultural understanding among people of differences through the power of folktales and the art of storytelling. This is one of the attempts to prepare people for the approaching ASEAN community through sharing the wisdom, ways of life, beliefs, cultural values, and practices inherent in the tales.
This year Mahasarakham University, SEAMEO-SPAFA, Surindra Rajabhat University, and Sakonnakhon Rajabhat University agree to organize the third international storytelling festival during 20-25 January 2015 at three venues in three provinces in northeast Thailand, namely, Surin, Sakonnakhon, and Mahasarakham. We will bring together more than 20 famous international storytellers to share folktales from ASEAN and elsewhere. Although the major emphasis of the festival is connecting ASEAN through travels, trades, food ways, cultural heritage, religions, and arts, it is not limited to only one topic or locality. Storytellers may choose to tell their own favourite stories from other cultures as well. Other themes ranging from love, compassion, kindness, sharing, peace, conserving natural environments, honouring indigenous wisdom could be shared in our festival.
This festival is split into two main events: The first event, “The Third International Storytelling Festival in Thailand during 19-24 January 2015,” aims to achieve four objectives: first to open an international arena of traditional and international storytelling performances for the first time in Thailand; second, to offer opportunities for students and youths in ASEAN, Southeast Asian countries and India to meet and exchange ideas and information on traditional storytelling, local wisdom, and other cultural heritage related areas; third, to offer opportunities for teachers, educators, and interested people to learn and share knowledge relating to the preservation and revitalization of folktales and storytelling traditions as well as sharing of wisdom, cultural values, beliefs and ways of lives through sharing of folktales; to build international networks of storytellers and storytelling traditions; and to into the international recognition in terms of cultural knowledge and studies.
The second event, the “ASEAN Folktales and Storytelling for ASEAN READINESS” during 24-25 January 2015, aims to achieve the fourfold objectives: first, to develop potentialities of university students and personnel from institutions in Thailand and abroad on the basic understanding of ASEAN and AEC through folktales and storytelling in English told by world renowned professional storytellers and ASEAN storytellers to enable listeners to develop skills in leadership, learning acquisition, assertiveness, and communication in English among themselves in their groups and their communities; second, to encourage participation so that students and personnel will be ready for the changes which in turn could help develop self-reliance for the better living conditions in the changing context; third, to provide knowledge and awareness on ASEAN and AEC to personnel, students, and general public to be ready for the changes; and fourth, to promote network and to strengthen relations and connections between students from various institutions in and outside of Thailand.
- We expect to have more at least 500 participants in each of the venues, comprising Asian youths, scholars, educators, teachers, students, and children.
- We expect to collect more than 20 folktales from ASEAN and around the world—these folktales are hopefully bringing awareness of similarities and differences among ASEAN countries and elsewhere which in turn will promote mutual understanding and peace.
- We expect to video tape performances of the international storytellers to use as models of the art of storytelling.
- We expect to publish a collection of folktales from ASEAN and elsewhere told in this festival.
- We expect to have young budding storytellers from storytelling contests in each venue.
- We expect to have drawings from the drawing contests to be used as illustrations in the collection of folktales from the Third International Storytelling Festival.
- We expect to share love of stories, joy, fun, and fellowship among storytellers and participants.