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To Tibetans, the Upper Mekong is a powerful spiritual entity. To the Chinese, the river is a means of economic development. By focusing on the interdependence of people and the natural world, The Mekong Semester examines how the demand for electricity and anthropocentric needs are causing irreparable damage to delicate ecosystems and traditional ways of life.
From its sacred headwaters in the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River flows 4,800-km towards the South China Sea, cleaving a boundary between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, and coursing into the heart of mainland Southeast Asia. Tracing the hidden contours of mountain valley and village for more than 2500km from the Tibetan plateau to the plains of Cambodia, the Mekong semester program is an odyssey of mind, body and spirit.
- Explore the diverse range of spiritual beliefs and religions within the Mekong catchment including: Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Animism, Catholicism and Islam.
- Meet with community members to learn about the reality of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, The Secret War and Pol Pot’s Regime.
- Trek in arid Himalayas and humid wet tropics exploring hot springs, glaciers and waterfalls.
- Experience rural village life in a Tibetan, Lao, Thai and Cambodia homestays participating in the daily rhythms of each place.
- Witness the negative impacts of large-scale hydro-power dam developments ecological systems.