Kiattisak Kittibhaddo Muangmit
Fellow Since 2002
This profile was prepared when Kiattisak Kittibhaddo Muangmit was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Phra Kiattisak is improving the attitude and ability of an influential segment of Thai society–Buddhist monks–to become active agents of positive social change by renewing and strengthening the tradition of monks serving as community leaders. Phra Kiattisak sees the paucity of monks in the social movement as a result of lack of awareness, training, and support in community development issues when new monks are being trained, rather than an unwillingness to get involved. Through the Maha Chulalongkorn Ratchawitiyalai, Thailand's largest Buddhist monk university, and the Phothiyalai Institute, a nonformal educational institution he founded, Phra Kiattisak is broadening the horizons of young monks–particularly those from the most disadvantaged hill tribe areas–not only by demonstrating their potential to help their communities but also by providing the necessary skills for them to fulfill that potential. To offer ongoing support to monks after they complete their studies, including continued training, access to resources, and idea exchange, Phra Kiattisak also established the Northern Monks Community Development Network (NMCDN).