Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) has again been recognized as a leader in Asia, reaching the final stage of THE Awards Asia 2024 in two significant categories: Outstanding Contribution in Environmental Leadership and Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Competing against over 600 entries, SUT’s presence on the final shortlist highlights its exceptional accomplishments.
The university’s commitment to environmental and community engagement is exemplified in the project “From Conflict to Coexistence: Development of a Natural Educational Smart Trail.” Collaborating closely with Khao Yai National Park, the initiative targets Khao Yai National Park Protection Unit 4 (Klong Plakang), addressing human-wildlife conflicts and community tensions. SUT’s ecotourism strategy, in collaboration with the local community and with support from the Embassy of Canada, gave rise to the “Klong Plakang Thailand-Canada Friendship Trail.” Situated within the UNESCO World Heritage site, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, this pioneering project features Thailand’s first smart trail, aligning with various Sustainable Development Goals. The trail, combining traditional signs and an app, has not only hosted 800 visitors but also generated 250,000 THB (US$7,140) in income for 60 local families to date, showcasing its positive impact on both the environment and the community.
Furthermore, SUT’s excellence extends to the Research Project of the Year category with its project on “Innovative Sustainable Silk Community Development in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.” Addressing Thailand’s middle-income trap, the project strategically empowered the traditional silk community. Through digital technology, artistic innovation, and a human-centered entrepreneurial approach, SUT cultivated 70 community innovators, resulting in 11 innovations, five new businesses, and two creative careers. The initiative, supported by a learning innovation platform and digital learning center, engages the younger generation in silk-related activities, contributing to grassroots economic growth and the preservation of cultural heritage. This replicable model, backed by collaborations with government agencies, signifies a transformative contribution to the sustainable silk industry nationwide.
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