An unavoidable truth (The Briefing Book 408)

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In his recommendations to Gorbachev, Mitterrand is basically repeating the lines of the Falin memo see Document Gorbachev expresses his wariness and suspicion about U. Margaret Thatcher visits Gorbachev right after he returns home from his summit with George Bush.

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Neither side must be afraid of unorthodox solutions. This key conversation between Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev sets the final parameters for German unification. Kohl talks repeatedly about the new era of relations between a united Germany and the Soviet Union, and how this relationship would contribute to European stability and security. It should not hang in the air, it needs a legal basis. He also wants assistance with relocating the troops and building housing for them. They are meeting at the Schechtel mansion on Alexei Tolstoy Street.

Kohl is decisive and assertive. He leads a clean but tough game. And it is not the bait loans but the fact that it is pointless to resist here, it would go against the current of events, it would be contrary to the very realities that M. President Bush reaches out to Gorbachev immediately after the Kohl-Gorbachev meetings in Moscow and the Caucasus retreat of Arkhyz, which settled German unification, leaving only the financial arrangements for resolution in September.

Gorbachev had not only made the deal with Kohl, but he had also survived and triumphed at the 28th Congress of the CPSU in early July, the last in the history of the Soviet Party. He managed to defend his program and win reelection as general secretary, but he had very little to show from his engagement with the West, especially after ceding so much ground on German unification.

While Gorbachev fought for his political life as Soviet leader, the Houston summit of the G-7 had debated ways to help perestroika, but because of U. Staffers in the European Bureau of the State Department wrote this document, practically a memcon, and addressed it to senior officials such as Robert Zoellick and Condoleezza Rice, based on notes taken by U.

The document features statements by all six ministers in the Two-Plus-Four process — Shevardnadze the host , Baker, Hurd, Dumas, Genscher, and De Maiziere of the GDR — much of which would be repeated in their press conferences after the event , along with the agreed text of the final treaty on German unification. Members of the Ungroup, chaired by Arnold Kanter of the NSC, had the confidence of their bosses but not necessarily the concomitant formal title or official rank. East European countries, still formally in the Warsaw Pact, but led by non-Communist governments, were interested in becoming full members of international community, looking to join the future European Union and potentially NATO.

NATO liaison offices would do for the present time, the group concluded, but the relationship will develop in the future. Havel informs him that Soviet Ambassador Kvitsinsky was in Prague negotiating a bilateral agreement, and the Soviets wanted the agreement to include a provision that Czechoslovakia would not join alliances hostile to the USSR. Wolfowitz advises both Havel and Dobrovsky not to enter into such agreements and to remind the Soviets about the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act that postulate freedom to join alliances of their choice.

The audience was a Russian Supreme Soviet delegation, which in this memo was reporting back to Boris Yeltsin who in June had been elected president of the Russian republic, largest in the Soviet Union , but no doubt Gorbachev and his aides were hearing the same assurance at that time. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.

Konstantin Kobets future chief military inspector of Russia after he was the highest-ranking Soviet military officer to support Yeltsin during the August coup and Gen. Bush Presidency, July 24, , p. The comment about the Wall is on p. The End of the Cold War and the U. The authors are grateful to Prof. Jansen for the correction and his careful reading of the posting. Perry, Inside the Presidency of George H.

Bush Cornell University Press, , pp.

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Skip to main content. Published: Dec 12, Briefing Book Document Department of State. Case F One of the myths about the January and February discussions of German unification is that these talks occurred so early in the process, with the Warsaw Pact still very much in existence, that no one was thinking about the possibility that Central and European countries, even then members of the Warsaw Pact, could in the future become members of NATO.

This U.

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Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby Bonn. Telegraphic N. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Perhaps the American diplomats missed out on the early dialogue between the British and the Germans on this issue, even though both shared their views with the U. Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H. Baker proposes the Two-Plus-Four formula, with the two being the Germanies and the four the post-war occupying powers; argues against other ways to negotiate unification; and makes the case for anchoring Germany in NATO.

However, a Germany that is firmly anchored in a changed NATO, by that I mean a NATO that is far less of [a] military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability. Even with unjustified redactions by U. Letter from James Baker to Helmut Kohl. Odenbourg Verlag, , pp. Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl. Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 12, Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 13, Source: George H. Foreign Minister Shevardnadze delivers a letter to Bush from Gorbachev, in which the Soviet president reviews the main issues before the coming summit.

Economic issues are at the top of the list for the Soviet Union, specifically Most Favored Nation status and a trade agreement with the United States. Shevardnadze expresses concern about the lack of progress on these issues and the U. On arms control, both sides point to some backtracking by the other and express a desire to finalize the START Treaty quickly.

Shevardnadze mentions the upcoming CSCE summit and the Soviet expectation that it will discuss the new European security structures. Bush does not contradict this but ties it to the issues of the U. A[n] idea that is very close to our own. Sir R. Braithwaite Moscow. James A. Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand excerpts. Letter from Francois Mitterrand to George Bush. Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D. Bush tries to persuade his counterpart to reconsider his fears of Germany based on the past, and to encourage him to trust the new democratic Germany.

Here, Gorbachev significantly exceeds his brief, and incurs the ire of other members of his delegation, especially the official with the German portfolio, Valentin Falin, and Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev. This is not just bluffing. It is simply that the people will force us to stop and to look around. Letter from Mr. Powell N. Wall: Thatcher-Gorbachev memorandum of conversation. James F. Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite diary, 05 March Previously they talked about changing the nature of NATO, about transformation of the existing military-political blocs into pan-European structures and security mechanisms.

And now suddenly again [they are talking about] a special peace-keeping role of NATO. They are talking again about NATO as the cornerstone. This does not sound complementary to the common European home that we have started to build. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO. Such conditions may have prevailed in previous generations and yet be increasingly impinged upon in the present era.

This understanding makes clear that CBNRM involves much more than devolving responsibility and control to communities. This may not be understood and accepted by communities; indeed, there may not be enough coherence of communities for responsibility and control to be exercised even if there is a will on the part of some community members to do this. The pressures being put on communities from outside often cannot be coped with by purely local action, or growing aspirations locally for greater wealth and mobility may strain whatever limited local capacity there is for resource-sustaining management.

These external actors can be based in government agencies, non-governmental organisations, private sector that is concerned with long-term sustainability of resource systems rather than short-term exploitation , or research institutions and universities. There is need for personnel in these various institutions to have a profound understanding of the many facets and interrelationships of CBNRM, as well as for them to have a practical and sophisticated knowledge base for decision making that can be shared with communities for making better, more efficient and equitable decisions to plan and manage resource utilisation.

Leadership first at China Agricultural University and then at Jilin Agricultural University saw the need for enlarging the pool of informed and motivated personnel who could work with communities in the more participatory, collaborative mode that CBNRM requires. There is need for a fund of knowledge that can inform the actions of decision makers and practitioners at any and all levels of the CBNRM system, from household, village and locality groups of villages up to regional and national institutions Uphoff, This book documents and disseminates the learning experience that faculty, staff and students of the two universities went through in their engagement with communities facing natural resource management challenges in Jilin and Guizhou Provinces as well as in Ningxia and Guangxi Autonomous Regions and Inner Mongolia.

For the two universities to be able to engage effectively with communities, there was need for internal reorientation of the universities themselves — curriculum reform, reorientation of faculty, changes in professional expectations, etc. How the participants in this process went about such institutional innovation has not been systematically reported and assessed before, as far as I know.

Not all of the things undertaken or attempted were successful, and most efforts could have been done more effectively or expeditiously if there had been more foreknowledge about how such institutional processes unfold. But that is to be expected. This experience has been written up not because it was effective in all respects, but because it is a rich collection of observations and internal assessments that make this kind of ambitious institutional innovation more accessible, less unknown and worrisome, for anyone who would embark on such a mission of institutional change.

It is not easy, still fairly early in the process, to identify ground level impacts from this effort. Most of the impact has been on the institutions that undertook this innovation and on the individuals who took leadership roles or who got drawn into this process. There is much testimony throughout the book about the changes, indeed transformations, that were induced by the interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, field oriented program which emerged.

The universities involved reoriented themselves from a mostly self-referential position, where the peer group to be impressed and satisfied was either other university professionals or administrative superiors, to an outward looking posture, where residents of rural communities were more looked to for information and for approval. The ways in which university faculty and students use their time and resources had to be altered, even wrenched, from old, comfortable and familiar patterns of use.

This process of bringing universities and communities closer together is one that is increasingly proposed. But not many efforts have persisted in this direction, learning from the obstacles, feedback and delays. This book shares such learning for others interested in making such transformations. What were the benefits and impacts of this effort? There are various indications reported that communities which worked with university personnel became more confident, motivated and coherent for exercising local decision making and management capabilities.

But the most evident impacts so far have been on the university personnel involved, an investment in building up the cadre of persons who can in years to come give guidance and motivation to strengthen management capacities at local and ascending levels. Persons looking for direct, attributable causation in the midst of such institutional interactions will probably be disappointed because of the multiplicity of influences.

One of the observations that applies here, as it does to many other situations, is that good things do not occur in a vaccum. For complex transformations to be achieved, not just with incentives and structural changes are involved, but also a less concrete but no less real permeation of society with ideas and normative reorientations, where some values become more salient and others less.

What can be seen from this account of CAD and JLAU involvement in community based natural resource management is how latent ideals and aspirations have been elevated, within the university community, within government circles, and within communities. At the same time, competence is gained individually and collectively in decision making, resource mobilisation and management, communication and coordination, and also conflict resolution, pertaining to natural resource management and other aspects of developmental action.

Building up such capabilities and the disposition to utilise and further strengthen them is a broad process, more than a matter of training and mastering specific skills. The leaderships of CAU and JLAU, and of IDRC as a supporting agency, deserve commendation for appreciating that this process is a diffuse, pervasive one, and for being willing to enter into such an open-ended venture in social change.

This foreword, addressing issues that are broad and somewhat abstract, is a counterpoint to the specificity and detail of the book which follows. I have tried to sketch out a framework for understanding the significance and thrust of the experience reported. We can see already how engagement in CBNRM from a university institutional base has affected the academic institutions involved and the people who were acting as their agents. We cannot see confidently yet what is the effect of such an initiative on the communities and regions affected and on the natural resource systems that these communities and regions depend on.

This kind of engagement is unusual for universities around the world, and particularly for universities in China, where there is a long tradition separating institutions of higher learning from the daily life of most fellow citizens. That this experience in participatory action research has been undertaken and documented in China makes it particularly instructive. It is to be hoped that faculty, administrators and students in Chinese institutions, but also in others elsewhere, will find encouragement in this experience and will be emboldened to undertake similar initiatives that link universities with communities as well as with government and non-governmental institutions that share responsibility and concern for sustainable and equitable development.

Participatory action research Whyte, ; Whyte et al. This case study focuses on community based natural resource management as a connective concern between universities and rural populations and with the various institutions that assist them. If multi-institutional, many level CBNRM collaboration can achieve the reorientation and learning required for success, both communities and universities will gain capacities that will serve well their society as a whole. Sustainable natural environments are only one of the domains where more effective collective action and the application of knowledge to solving practical problems are needed.

Greenwood, D. Denzin and Y. Lincoln, eds. Reason and H. Bradbury, eds. Hirschman, Albert O. Korten, D. Uphoff, N. Ramamurthy and R. Whyte, W. Greenwood and P. March 19, Sunday morning in Ma Shan county, Guangxi province. The students are preparing for their feedback presentation to the local research team and the farmers.

We are having a very good field visit! On Friday morning we received one of the most extraordinary welcomes we ever received from farmers, with singing and so much joy Students refrained from starting interviews with farmers right away, but instead joined the singing.

The local performance group prepared a special song — an ode to the researchers, who come to the village to work together with the farmers instead of lecturing to them. The students also learned how to use threshing sticks This was followed by lunch, followed by the first interviews, in two smaller groups. At the end of the afternoon, the local performance group danced, sang and presented a theatre play they sang the special song again. It was wonderful. This fragment of an e-mail message provides a glimpse of the experience documented in this book. Sent to a colleague at the other end of China, accompanying another group of M.

To give the readers an even better sense of our enriching experiences and the impact they generated, we present the song composed by the farmers of Ma Shan county to welcome us, referred to above. The song, artfully translated by Yang Huang, conveys the kindness of the local farmers who received us coming from far away with many questions with open arms. With a healthy dose of humour, farmers teach us that they are not conservative or backward, but ready to try out new things, if new initiatives are based on sincerity, mutual respect, and a true spirit of cooperation which will lead to concrete improvements in their lives.

Men: … let us sing songs to the world with a golden throat Every folk song is about the village of the Yao Hearing our songs, fish and shrimp in the water smile Hearing our songs, all the flowers in the mountains smell aromatically. Women: … the scenery of the village of the Yao is beautiful now A picturesque scene with new houses Poor life has improved Every household eats meat, drinks wine.

Men: … honeysuckles bloom, the potpourri spreading a thousand miles away Attracting the specialists to come to the village of the Yao Making Mashan become more famous The golden phoenix flying out from the mountain area. Women: … specialists coming to the village of the Yao Busy with inquiry and research Traditional agriculture needs to be improved Please remember every person.

Men: … agricultural technology develops so rapidly Traditional cultivation needs to be improved Let us experiment with the maize varieties Let us do something new. Women: … all villagers discuss together Specialists give good suggestions We come together to change the situation. Men: … thanks to the specialists for coming to village of the Yao Investigating without being afraid of hard work Visiting hundreds of households Paying attention to the details of our life. Together: Good policy of the central government The three pillars of rural development will show the way 1 New technology will improve our agriculture The villagers of Yao will soon have an easy life.

At the beginning of our journey, we were a small group of people sharing a dream — a dream of changing the content and dynamics of postgraduate teaching and research programs at the College of Humanities and Development COHD at the China Agricultural University and at Jilin Agricultural University JLAU. Over time, our group of innovators grew rapidly, bringing aboard other teachers and students, as well as researchers, extension agents, NGO staff and farmers.

We all shared a desire to make rural development studies more interesting and relevant. If we have done this to any degree, it is because of the collective action of all the fearless, open-minded, joyous friends who joined us on our journey. From day one, they were on board, allowing us to accomplish what we set out to do: bridge the gap between higher education and rural realities across China. They opened their minds and hearts — as core members of the working groups and as co-facilitators in the courses — and connected us with researchers, extensionists, government staff, and farmers in Guangxi, Guizhou, and Ningxia, year after year.

In Jilin province, we thank our key contact people from townships in the west, centre, and east, who played similar roles. Colleagues from the State Forestry Bureau, Beijing University, and ActionAid helped us in the early stages of our journey by sharing their diverse professional experiences in the field of community based natural resource management. Colleagues staff, and in the case of Mongolia, also students from the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Mongolia also joined at various points of time to learn from our cases, provide feedback, and share plans for curriculum development and related activities.

Colleagues at the International Development Research Centre have been supportive all along, giving advice and moral support and sharing our achievements and lessons with others, across the world. Sandra Garland had the courage to jump on the bandwagon and edit the full text, making our stories and reflections more concise and harmonious. Bill Carman masterfully managed the publication process, which, as happens so often, went through some unexpected ups and downs.

We owe gratitude to our families, who endured the many long hours discussing ideas often at any time of the day , drafting and revising plans, putting exercises into practice, and monitoring activities in a never ending effort to ensure that we are still on track. They also allowed us to travel to and across China and beyond, on roads still uncharted and with destinations not well known. They have kept us going forward. Kutuan village is the hardest place I have ever been. A week ago, we prepared for the field research.

There was much discussion, and our opinions were incorporated into the framework we designed. Now I understand why the course facilitators emphasised the need to ask farmers for their ideas. During the days in the field, we got to know the farmers. They have their own ideas, interests, and wishes, but they also have problems.

Their lives depend on the weather, the sheep, the water, and so on. Most of these factors are hard to control. They have dreams and are fighting to make them come true. I admire the spirit of the farmers whom we visited. They are unpretending, loyal, and warm-hearted. Even though we were working with them only a few days, I was greatly moved. This experience is a rich treasure in my life.

Communication is very important, not only among our partners, but also between farmers and us. On this journey, I communicated a lot. It helps our work and it helps me understand participatory rural development. Collaboration is a good way to work. Even though a minor conflict arose in our small group, we were able to solve it and finish our work together.

We need to do self-examination. This is also a good opportunity for us to practise expressing our own ideas. Everyone needs courage and people to pay attention, no matter what their speaking ability. Support from others is the best help when you are making a presentation.


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I received this kind of support from my friends — from everyone in the Ningxia group — when I was nervous, standing in front of many people. I thank them all very much. During this time, I also discovered my weaknesses. Sometimes I am not considerate. My ability to summarise and analyse is not very good, and I am not a good speaker.

I hope I will improve these skills by studying community based natural resource management. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to join this journey and take this course. I will try to do my best. Ten teachers and researchers with a background in both natural and social sciences contributed to this pioneering event as course facilitators. The students were following one of the three main programs at COHD: rural development and management, sociology, or regional economics.

The course was organised using a participatory curriculum development method guided by insights from adult teaching and learning theory and practice. Introducing, experimenting with, and assessing this method in Beijing and, later, in Changchun the capital of Jilin province turned out to be an enriching experience, as one of the students in the course recounts at the beginning of this chapter.

This book presents the experiences and lessons learned during this innovative development initiative in China, which is part of a larger effort to mainstream an action learning approach to rural development studies, teaching, and research. The course and the related activities have set the stage for more profound changes in teaching, research, and learning at COHD. Yang Huan, one of the M. Lack of awareness of conditions, especially in rural areas, is a common disadvantage of our generation.

We were trained as study machines. We have no chance to get to know society by experiencing it. And before we came to university and learned about the field of rural development management, most of us knew nothing about rural life. So there is a big gap between principles and reality for the students.

It is hard for us to fill the gap if we lack the experience of living the life of farmers. They provided examples and the direction of thinking. The rest we did ourselves. This chapter describes the larger effort and the policy context in detail. Chapter 2 describes the lengthy, intense, but crucial preparatory process, which was instrumental in obtaining broad support including financial support for bringing together the first working group to take on course development and management and for sketching out the first part of a more comprehensive learning road map.

Chapters 3 and 4 , presents the design and describes the delivery and assessment of the first two test runs of the course, Community Based Natural Resource Management: An Introduction. The aim was to encourage M. For students who are motivated and who have the support of their thesis advisors, these fellowships allow them to gain more in-depth experience, mainly in the field but also partly in the classroom. We discuss these student fellowships and related activities in chapter 6.

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This publication is intended to show how ideas about curriculum reform and related activities were born. This book describes how they were refined and put into practice through a collaborative, experiential learning by doing approach that involves many different, but like-minded people. It is believed that these are expressions of transformative learning. This book also describes the challenges and stress the importance of the recounted experiences as both meaningful and analytically useful reflections on practice.

The stories also suggest that there is more to capacity development than narrowly defined improvements in skills or performance. Attention is paid to the wider organisational and institutional including policy context in which our efforts are embedded. Evolving practice provides the fertile ground for the identification of main insights in the change process, more so than abstract theory or rigid operational frameworks with predefined parameters or indicators.

The experiences and the lessons learnt are directly relevant to and useful in the higher education policy reform process that is underway Zhou Ji They are proof of the ability of the main stakeholders to engage in this process and to adapt and implement key policy elements. The concluding chapter summarises our learning to date, in terms of both practice and theory, and reflects on the next steps. Our goal is to help the farmers improve themselves. They need materials, but this is not enough. We also should help them to be aware of the problems they are facing and help them to get together to become more powerful.

We have a long way to go to achieve this. CBNRM research is characterised by attention to complex natural and social systems requiring an interdisciplinary approach and teamwork , a longer time perspective, a diversity of social actors, a scale of analysis and intervention beyond the farm unit, collective action, and a focus on common resources, a participatory action and social learning style, and strong emphasis on empowerment and capacity building.

Conventional research often focuses on one particular resource water, land, or forest with little thought about the social factors that influence access and use. Conventional research usually continues for 1 or 2 years, but CBNRM cannot often deal with the complex questions it addresses in such a short period. It requires a longer-term development strategy. In conventional research, the main participants are usually researchers and government. Other social actors, such as traders, may also be involved.

Social and gender analysis are key to understanding differences and addressing inequities. In conventional research, the learning style is mostly top down, with little thinking about empowerment or capacity building. CBNRM favours a multidirectional learning process, especially using informal methods such as peer-to-peer learning; it aims to empower people and it supports capacity building and the organisation of farmers, fishers, or herders.

From these fundamental insights, a number of challenges follow. The major ones are training a variety of specialised professionals to meet the demands of socioeconomic development; instilling students with practical, innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial skills; and sharing resources or inputs more effectively and efficiently Zhou Ji The minister of education, Zhou Ji descibes these challenges as:.

First, we should think seriously about the relationship between the educational development and the goal of establishing a well-to-do society by China is a developing country with a huge population of over 1. The most difficult problem for us to tackle during the process of establishing a well-to-do society is the mass population As education plays a fundamental and directing role with overall importance in the establishment of a well-to-do society, it must be prioritised strategically for further development.

Secondly, we should think seriously about the relationship between educational development and the overall development of human beings With the economic and social progress and the development of a market economy, the need for employees to be comprehensively developed will be more demanding. Thirdly, we should think seriously about the relationship between the reform of education system and the perfection of a socialist market economy To develop education is one of the practical embodiments of public service for modern government and therefore should be placed at the top of the agenda in the public administration system and public fiscal system.

According to the minister of education, clear job opportunities and a steady demand for professions two sides of the same coin are pivotal Zhou Ji 86— To create new specialities, a number of elements are needed: a clear description of the content matter general level as well as course level , a feasible education plan, a sufficient number of qualified teachers, adequate materials and equipment, and funds. The minister provides the following guidelines for curriculum change — increase general knowledge; increase the number of elective courses; emphasize practical, experimental, and social interaction in courses; adopt a cross-disciplinary perspective; use creativity, and stimulate research as part of teaching and training Zhou Ji — He also outlines a curriculum development process consisting of six interrelated steps:.

In parallel with the redefinition of priorities, student training methods require changes. Narrowly planned and executed training is no longer appropriate. The minister seems eager to point out that some universities have made a start with this:. Universities also lay greater stress on integration of theoretical and practical teaching. Some large, research-oriented universities have gradually implemented a mode of advisory teaching, where an advisor provides academic guidance to a number of undergraduate students. For students, it is an explorative or inspirational learning mode, different from the traditional receptive learning mode.

Teachers are better prepared to teach in the form of discussion and elicitation so as to inspire initiative and enthusiasm in their students. Of special interest are a number of measures to improve graduate education — subsidies for outstanding Ph. In addition, the minister identifies three other elements of high quality education: the adoption of up-to-date textbooks and courseware, the use of modern educational methods based on interaction with students and elicitation of their ideas, and offering advice to students Zhou Ji Teachers, students, and senior management staff are all responsible for quality control.

The reform policy contains many valuable elements. However, unfortunately, changes have been slow. Theoretical knowledge continues to be seen as the most valuable expression of science. There is little or no interest in addressing the practical problems that rural people face. Direct links and meaningful interactions between rural communities and staff and students remain rare Li Xiaoyun and Li Ou People-centred approaches and systematic attention to the social dynamics of rural development are still not common in the agricultural and environmental sciences.

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Conventional lecturing remains the dominant method for instructing students. Students look up to the teachers, maintain considerable distance — literally and figuratively. In classrooms, there is little room for critical reflection on the meaning of, reasons for, and methods of learning itself. Some efforts are being made to change the situation. In , a small group of Chinese agricultural and rural development professionals initiated the Farmer Centred Research Network FCRN to promote a farmer focused research and development approach at the national level by introducing participatory and CBRNM based action research and teaching.

The second phase, which started in , is strengthening and expanding on these achievements. The ultimate goal is to move the agricultural research and education system toward participatory and farmer centred learning and action Qi Gubo et al. Unfortunately it appears to be more difficult to integrate participatory learning and action into the university curriculum than into some development agencies, perhaps because of the still very hierarchical nature of the higher education system and the strong resistance to change.

Increasingly, this is creating a discontinuity between knowledge generation in the classroom and utilisation in the field , as higher education fails to keep pace with the increasingly serious problems of natural resource degradation and widespread rural poverty. Innovative curriculum development is one key means to deal with this bottleneck, as it allows the introduction of a new, more relevant approach to learning to the new generation of development professionals.

If new curricula and programs could be introduced into the over agricultural and related higher education institutions in China, more appropriate knowledge and skills could be generated and used. As one of the leading institutions for rural development study and learning in the higher education system in China, COHD has the responsibility of advising other universities about curriculum and program development. This provides an opportunity for change and for a potentially large-scale application of the new approach that we aim to develop and try out in the coming years.

Currently, this program includes undergraduate, graduate, and Ph. Several development themes are addressed in the key courses and related research undertaken across China. In , twenty eight teachers and faculty members were involved in research and teaching. They were responsible for about undergraduates, fifty graduates under RDM, regional economics, and sociology and forty Ph. All staff members have pursued development studies abroad; many of them are also consultants on rural development issues in China.

The harmony between villagers impressed me deeply. During the five days, we used participatory research tools to work with the peasants, and their warmness and real feelings touched me deeply. Every role gave me different feelings. I think I will treasure these experiences, because it will help me a lot in the future. To us who are involved in the CBNRM course, we should consider the things that peasants pay attention to. Natural resource management and rural development problems are complex, diverse, and in constant flux.

Experiences from across China provide strong evidence of this. To analyse these problems, various researchers are arguing that dynamic learning processes and methods are required to carry out interventions, and assess alternatives Vernooy et al. At the heart of such an approach is an effort to engage social actors and, together with those interested:.

Many researchers and practitioners in the field of natural resource management are coming from the field of biophysics and do not have the social science skills and knowledge needed to work within a participatory research framework. The same can be said about many people involved in decision making and policy-making. Those working within a participatory research or development framework quickly realise that they must foster multi- and interdisciplinary ways of working.

For many social scientists, this means gaining a better understanding of the natural sciences — histories, rationales, research questions, methods. It also requires working together with partners from rural communities, as well as associated social actors or stakeholders, and to speak the same language about participatory action research in terms of approaches, tools, and practices. Development and research organisations, including those associated with the FCRN in China, have been trying to address the issues and challenges outlined above, usually with limited resources and support.

Both researchers and practitioners such as extensionists have called for more and ongoing support. They are searching for clearer frameworks and sets of tools that enable them to improve their work with rural communities and other stakeholders in terms of effectiveness, scientific quality or rigour, and results. Organisational obstacles and shortcomings — the lack of incentives, little or no recognition from peers, often hamper their work. Elements of such frameworks as well as tools and techniques, already exist, but they are scattered around organisations and countries.

However, most of these initiatives have focused on individual research capacity building some have also addressed team building. The major issue now is to translate this into more effective organisational capacity building. Knowledge about good practices for organisational research capacity building in CBNRM is still scarce. The experience at COHD, which is described in chapters 3 and 4 , is a good example.

Subsequently, when we became more confident of the usefulness of these ideas, we asked an IDRC intern to elaborate on the underlying thoughts more systematically and thoroughly Large A centre could take the form of a network or a community of practice Wenger The notion of moving toward centres of excellence emphasises the institutional efforts required to ensure the promotion of CBNRM approaches, concepts, methods, and tools. Action as well is informed by reflection, sometimes called praxis.

We hypothesized that these three elements — willingness to cooperate, shared goals, and continuous, collective reflection — are key to putting the concept of centres of excellence into practice. In , IDRC staff teamed up with Chinese colleagues to combine their ideas about mainstreaming CBNRM in higher education and our concept of centres of excellence, and put them into practice.

Together, we walked the road described in this book. It is a new idea that is changing and will change us. So I hope it will be spread around us. In the classroom, we take part in all kinds of activities, actively, and then we go out to do field investigation. Learning is acting. Of course, acting is learning. It is the activities that not only make our study a happy thing, but also give us lots of knowledge inside and outside the class. We can express ourselves freely. Each member is equal. To find a better way to settle a problem, we must work together and help each other, which makes our minds broader and also quicker.

In the class, we can learn how to give and share. Free communication, working together, and equality are very important. We like this kind of class because it takes place in a happy, free, and flexible atmosphere. What is more, we can find the knowledge, the way to the knowledge, happiness, confidence, and friendship. As students, we care about our study.

However, we pay more attention to the people, especially the people living in the rural areas. So I hope our work or suggestions can do some good to them. When our work is more useful, it is a success to us. At the crossroads of the big pictures sketched above, a plan to introduce and mainstream ideas was developed. The plan consists of six interrelated components.


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This includes continuing experimentation with the courses in Beijing and Changchun and support to other similar initiatives at other universities. It also includes the use of participatory curriculum development to prepare one or more other, related courses at COHD and JLAU, possibly in cooperation with other departments in the universities. The second component is the sharing of experiences, results, and lessons. This will be realised through teacher-teacher and student-student exchanges of experience and guidance similar to the farmer-to-farmer approach.

The aim is to organise regular exchange events, within China, and support others interested in following our example. The third component is supporting CBNRM and PRD fieldwork, for students and staff, to link theory with practice, to reflect and learn on these activities, and to use the results of the field research as inputs for course development and refinement. Several appear in this book, as co-authors and in the stories presented throughout. Fifth, and turning to the external context, is the creation of an enabling environment.

This means access to longer-term financial and political support from Chinese sources, such as CAU and JLAU leaders, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, and perhaps complementary funding from donor agencies. This component will be operationalised through policy research and analysis and advocacy efforts. Last, but not least, is sound and ongoing monitoring. This implies strengthening our project monitoring and evaluation skills through targeted training and practice and the development and implementation of sound assessment plans.

I further understand what participation is and what action research is. I think I will adopt this study and the methods of teaching and research. It is a very important inspiration. The CBNRM and PRD courses were designed using a participatory curriculum development method Taylor , with an important role for participatory monitoring and evaluation Guijt et al. This method is informed by core elements of an experiential learning approach Kolb and by insights from adult learning theory Knowles et al.

Conceptual pillars were discussed briefly and efforts were made to translate them to the Chinese context. Participatory curriculum development PCD is a method in which a number of — or all — main social actors involved in the curriculum topic are invited to take part in design, planning, delivery, and assessment. Similar to participatory action research, PCD aims to make the envisioned learning more relevant and effective Taylor PCD follows a cycle of five main steps: situational analysis or training needs assessments, framework design, detailed planning, delivery, and assessment and possible refinement.

At the heart of the approach is teamwork — throughout the cycle. PCD was introduced and discussed during an exploratory workshop held in Beijing September in which representatives from government, NGOs, and academic organisations from China including members of the FCRN and the wider Asian region participated. The workshop method followed the five steps of PCD, both as a means to introduce the approach still very new to China and to put the method into practice in a workshop setting.

The workshop included a presentation on curriculum development, case studies from across the region, presentations by Chinese stakeholders — government, NGOs, and academia — on their work and interest in CBNRM, plenary question-and-answer sessions, and small group work. It allowed the various stakeholders to become more familiar with the PCD approach, assess its potential usefulness in China, and start building a group of interested partners willing to give PCD a try Xiuli and West Familiarity with participatory research cycles gave the confidence to experiment with the approach.

PCD is based on an experiential learning cycle that has four basic steps: experience, critical reflection on the experience, consideration of general principles, and action or experimentation Kolb During this cycle, cognitive, emotional, attitudinal, and behavioural changes can take place. Learning can take a variety of forms and these often overlap. Van der Veen summarises three principal learning theory approaches that are relevant to CBNRM and rural development.

The first, reproductive learning, assumes that there is a body of objectively verifiable knowledge and that this can be taught by breaking down content into its essential elements. This kind of learning, focused on absorbing content, is predominant in traditional education in China and elsewhere.

Reproductive learning most closely mirrors the logical positivist or empiricist research paradigm, in which research seeks the accumulation of objective knowledge through the production of empirically testable hypotheses. The second approach is constructivist learning similar to communicative learning [Mezirow ].

It assumes that important features of the external world are uncertain and disputed and that people actively construct their understanding of it. It is about the process of changing or transforming perceptions, i. Discovery and innovation, not repetition, are essential parts of this construction process.

It focused on offering an alternative to absorbing information from textbooks or lectures, envisioned more direct interaction with rural realities even if of short duration through direct observation, interactions in the field, and in the classroom with researchers directly involved in participatory research in various sites of the country , and through collaboration on a concrete, action-oriented research proposal. The third approach is transformative learning.

Through critical self-reflection, learners revise old or develop new assumptions and beliefs in terms of seeing the world. They ask questions about why it is useful to know. Learners together build a more open, integrated, or inclusive perspective of the world, and they act on these new insights Cranton 27—28; Percy —; Wenger chapter Such transformation is often stimulated by communicative learning, but goes beyond it in terms of internalisation and transformation of understanding.

This approach to learning has links to people-centred, emancipatory research approaches, such as participatory action research. Mezirow calls this emancipatory learning. A combination of these three learning approaches, with particular emphasis on the introduction of and experimentation with transformative learning elements was used.

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Concerning the curriculum development process itself, question on why, what, who, for whom, and how of curriculum development were asked. From adult learning theory, a number of insights were applied in an interrelated way. First, learning through experience, also known as learning by doing was stressed upon.

Much was built on previous research assignments and work done by the students and teachers. In other words, they were encouraged to engage with everyday realities and rural practices, ask questions, discuss findings and experiences, and report back to the whole course group.

Ongoing research and development projects were introduced, visited, and used as case studies throughout the course. In addition, teaching was carried out through a variety of practical exercises, mostly in small groups combined with plenary sessions. A central element was the field visit, organised as a research activity.

Another central element was an exercise in action research proposal writing, which allowed participants to apply learning from the course to thesis field research. A number of the exercises and the proposal writing were assessed through a peer review process with little intervention from the teachers. Learning through reflection was encouraged. During the course delivery process, students were asked to explain why they selected the course in terms of expectations.

These expectations were juxtaposed with the plan of action defined by the teachers. One of the course topics dealt with formulating action questions based on the field-visit experience. Learning from each other, among students, among facilitators, between students and teachers, with field project staff and collaborators was encouraged.

The course exercises were done jointly. Group work was facilitated. Tensions and conflicts were resolved. They developed some preliminary ideas, shared them with the larger course working group, and in successive rounds of feedback and refinement turned them into a plan. The students took charge of facilitation and reporting. Three groups presented different situations for identifying problems, managing conflict, and problem solving in very visible ways.

The Guizhou team acted out conflict management in the Sloping Arable Land project, showing the roles of different stakeholders. They pointed out effective and ineffective ways of joint action learning with specific suggestions, e. During the plenary discussion, we re-emphasised some factors, such as at the cognitive level of the participants, sustainability with a long-term perspective, collaborative spirit, teamwork, partnership building, respecting each other, and transparency; at the practical level, we stressed the importance of consensus in terms of interests and objectives, participation in the whole process including diagnosing problem, formulating research questions, action, monitoring, and evaluation , reflection and adjustments during the action, and pro-poor development considerations.

It certainly has been labour and time intensive, but now that the initial steps have been taken, we expect the intensity to be somewhat reduced. Careful preparations and ongoing monitoring, involving students as much as possible, and a continuous focus on learning by doing have been important to keep things going and on track. The course working groups and the fellowship support team have been instrumental in getting the work done to date.

Bringing colleagues from various organisations together and involving a number of students have been very positive factors. Time wise, the planning and delivery of the courses have not been without problems, although these have not been major. Better integration will also address the question of sustainability, but other issues — such as finances and longer-term institutional support from CAU, JLAU, and the Ministry of Education — will require further attention.

Dissemination and advocacy currently underway and planned for the near future will be important mechanisms for obtaining institutional and political support in the long-term — one of the challenges ahead. Future course working groups will have a key role to play in these activities. Insights based on theory will continue to serve as guideposts, but practice reveals what works, what does not work, and where improvement can best be made.

Optimistically, it can be said that a good beginning has been made, but as in any change process, the road can be expected to be bumpy at times. With the enlightenment of Gubo and Ronnie, I have understood the process of course development and course delivery is not simply a normal activity, but also a research initiative, which makes the whole story pretty interesting and fantastic, because now everybody is both a participant and a researcher at the same time.

We observe the whole process, and at the same time are observed as a part of the process. The dual nature will encourage all the actors to contribute to the whole process with ownership, because all of us are now in the same boat with the same goal. The early steps leading to delivery of the first CBNRM course in Beijing in the spring of were guided by a strong desire to work and learn.

There was no blueprint to show how to turn ideas into reality in the Chinese context. Instead, it was agreed to embark on a learning-by-doing journey, hoping that collective wisdom and expertise would help reach the goal. Several questions guided the initiative:. How to develop the new curriculum using a participatory process involving various stakeholders?

How can the curriculum development group get support from the university? What timeline fits the participatory learning process to be introduced? Schedules are usually strict at the university. Can rural learning sites near the campus — for example, a community development research project in Yixian County — be used to overcome time constraints? How do the costs of this new approach compare with the benefits?

How to work toward the necessary sustainability of the curriculum? How to change the culture of the university and its system in a way that will avoid conflicts that could interfere with implementation of the curriculum? How to assess what has actually been changed for those involved in the curriculum development process and in the larger change process — including members of the FCRN — in terms of knowledge, attitudes, and skills?

Do changes differ among different types of universities? What organisational changes have taken place, and how do individuals relate to them? What useful and measurable indicators can be used to assess capacity changes in the Chinese context? What kinds of capacities are crucial for mainstreaming participatory and farmer centred research in the formal research and education system in China? With these questions in mind, the process started. These were intense months characterised by a number of joint, face-to-face activities and a continuous stream of e-mail correspondence among the members of the group that put the learning process into motion.

Interactions involved many people — in China, and beyond. This allowed for presentation of ideas, hear about other experiences, obtain feedback, revise ideas, obtain more feedback, and further refine ideas. However, without the use of e-mail to span the distances between working group members in various cities of China and Ottawa, Canada, it would have been very difficult if not impossible to get the work done. On the following pages are excerpts illustrating both the dynamics and results of the face-to-face encounters and the e-mail correspondence.

This material has not been edited, other than to correct minor grammatical errors. Central to this enabling environment has been the space to freely express oneself and to be given a chance to speak out thoughts, but also feelings , to be listened to with attention and respect, and to have the opportunity to ask questions — traditionally the prerogative of the teacher. In the context of still very strong Chinese cultural values and norms of authority, power, and respect for teachers, this has been a major breakthrough.

The support of key decision makers has been instrumental in the creation of such an enabling environment. They not only gave the green signal to keep the exercise going, but also provided space to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from mistakes. COHD senior management, in particular, supported the activity from the very beginning, allowing introduction of new ideas at CAU and providing backups when necessary. IDRC senior management showed great confidence as well by providing long-term technical and financial support for the scaling out and scaling up part of the agenda.

This also allowed extending the experience to JLAU, where, after a slow start, a good support was received. This provided opportunities to deal with problems and worries and to keep the process on track. To start the process of working toward curriculum development, it was thought it would be useful to find out what was being done in this area in the wider Asian region. Based on a rapid desk assessment, it was decided to organise a small exploratory workshop with known partners from the region to discuss CBNRM curriculum design for COHD in China and perhaps elsewhere.

It was a good opportunity to share knowledge, experience, and ideas about ongoing and future initiatives in the region and to encourage regional exchange and cooperation see Xu Xiuli and West for a report of the workshop. At this workshop, a design process for PCD, which includes identification of training needs and the framework, plan, delivery, and refinement of the curriculum was introduced. Five steps developed by Peter Taylor was used, both to introduce the approach, which is still very new to China, and to put the method into practice in a workshop setting Fig.

Plenary and question-and-answer sessions were included, as well as small work groups. The participatory curriculum development cycle. Source: Taylor A point emphasised in the development of the framework was that fieldwork should be central in promoting deeper understanding of Chinese rural realities by the students. Later, this became one of the key elements of our mainstreaming strategy. The workshop gave a number of the Chinese participants the courage to form a first working group of teachers, students, and researchers. This group defined a series of next steps: a needs — interest assessment exercise would be carried out at the end of September and they would hold a course design meeting in January Given that CBNRM is about bridging a diversity of viewpoints and interests, it was decided that the working group should reflect this principle.

The group also wanted to seek advice from farmers, civil society organisations NGOs , and government. Involving farmers and government officials was a radical idea. This was a completely new way to do course development at CAU, and perhaps in China, and the group set itself a real challenge! This was the first time students had been asked to be involved in a course development process and they were very interested.

They also wanted to learn more about the course preparation and implementation process. Some volunteered to join the working group. They wanted the course to be innovative, but have a solid theoretical basis. They also had two worries. One was that the teachers would be inconsistent in their interpretation and presentation of the various parts of the course. They suggested that discussions and joint preparation by the teaching group would go a long way toward overcoming this problem.

Another worry was that the course would repeat relevant theories that were already taught during undergraduate studies, e. They argued that CBNRM should not concentrate only on resource management, but should also provide broader and deeper guidance on rural development. In other words, it should be more than just an introduction to a development project process. A summary of the results of the meeting was posted on the COHD web site, along with an invitation to students to take part in a course design workshop.

Encouraged by the positive feedback and excellent input from the students, we set out to put together some more concrete ideas — mostly by e-mail — leading to a draft course outline by the end of November. The feedback from the students helped advance the thinking about the next step: working toward a course plan!

In January , a course design and preparations workshop was a major step forward. Although perhaps a little too short one or two more days would have been useful , this workshop set in motion the course design process. The responses may be summarised as:. The workshop led to the formation of a working group made up of teachers and students to develop the course. Looking back, it may be said that this workshop was a very important event in the whole process, as it not only developed the course outline to a large extent, but also established a way of working together.

It strengthened mutual engagement and commitment to or passion for a common undertaking with clear and jointly agreed on goals a common course indeed. The course should be innovative and not repeat the knowledge we already learned during undergraduate studies. The teachers should exchange and coordinate with each other before the course. The field visit is very important. It can help us understand the knowledge, which would be learned in the course, more clearly. We should know the aim and the objectives of the course before its beginning, as well as the expected outcomes in terms of learning.