On November 24-25, 2023, Walailak Botanic Park (WBP), led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chatchai Kanlayanapaphon, was assigned by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rungrawee Jitpakdee, the Director of WBP, to bring faculty members from various disciplines to the field to explore the stories of the Maniq people at Ban Phu Pha Phet, Manang District, Satun Province. This group, classified as Negritos, is considered a sub-group of Negroids and is scattered along the Malay Peninsula in southern Thailand. Moreover, the team is led by Asst. Prof. Dr. Siriporn Somboonboorana (the research program director) and Mr. Charoon Thotsakul (the expert on the Maniq ethnic group).
The field visit integrates academic work and study to record and preserve folk art, cultural heritage, and knowledge of the Maniq, through systematic collection, so this information can be further incorporated into the exhibition within the Maniq Ethnographic Museum at Walailak University. The goal is to create a space for generating experiences, inspiration, and knowledge exchange, leading to the development of academic learning processes, and fostering awareness in the conservation of resources and cultural heritage for sustainable societal development.
This initiative aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable) by ensuring that human settlements are inclusive, safe, adaptable to change, and sustainable. It also aligns with SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) by providing quality and equitable education opportunities for everyone and supporting lifelong learning. Additionally, it aligns with SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) by fostering collaboration with networks and relevant organizations.