Alumni Profile: Prodpran Wangcherdchuwong, Spring 2017
This profile is part of a series exploring the impact of SFU Semester in Dialogue alumni on our local and global communities.
What semester/theme did you participate in?
I participated in the Spring 2017 semester: Decolonizing dialogues, solidarities, and activism.
Tell us about one of your projects in the Semester and why it mattered to you? In what way did the project have a positive impact on the community?
I feel like it is so hard to put into words why this semester mattered to me! But here goes... One highlight was how we all had the opportunity to do projects of various scales. For example, a personal project that explores the semester's theme. I love food - not only that it is sustaining, healing, and nurturing to us (also delicious!), but also how it reflects and reveals so much about us - so naturally I was more inclined to look into food and food systems. I ended up reading and learning more about the production and consumption of soy. I ended up making 3 different kinds of tofu as part of this project. Our final project as a class was to hold a public dialogue about our ideas of "home". It was a 2-night event which invited participants to think about home on unceded lands. I think it was very valuable, but as friends from my cohort would also say, it is merely a scratch on the surface. Perhaps the more profound impacts of the semester is how the semester has shaped and guided us regardless of whether we are conscious of it or not. The teachings and the learnings of the semester have been seeded and will grow with us as we move onwards.
That aside, I do think that there was a lot to learn and highlight in the process of going through the semester. Ask another student in the cohort about their experience, and it will probably be quite different from mine! Spending an intensive amount of time with 20 other students, exploring a very complex and heavy topic with very real impacts on lives, can surface thoughts, feelings, and assumptions that I did not realize before. The whole semester was really focused on relationships – with others around us, with places, with the land. This is not only an interesting way to explore dialogue, I think it is a way of relating to the world around us with more care, respect, and responsibility. I cannot thank the instructors enough - Lynne Davis, Sean Blenkinsop, Michelle Nahanee, Dorothy Christian, and all of the "thought-leaders" invited to our class – for holding the space, and to both challenge and support us throughout the semester.
What are you doing now that you want to tell the world about?
I have some ideas brewing and things going, but let's talk in person!