Year in Review 2020

Trainings and Research

Dear friends of the Tea Leaf Center,

We don’t need to mention what a crazy year it’s been. When we last sent a newsletter, in May 2020, we were still enthusiastically transitioning our work online. The shine quickly wore off all the digital possibilities, and like many people we (Aileen and Jon) laid low and just tried to get by.

We’ve spent most of 2020 doing whatever work we could, and saving up for when we could invest in staff and really start to work to make our research-supporting dreams come true. I’m happy to say that this is finally paying off – we’re now looking to hire a Research Assistant in Thailand and hopefully a few more positions in the next few months. (Please pass on the job description – linked above – to anyone in your networks who may be interested).

These days, supporting local research capacity is more important than ever. Here in northern Thailand we’ve seen amazing local efforts to fight COVID-19, to support each other in times of economic crisis, and to fight for democracy and basic rights. There is a lot to be learned from these efforts, and similar work around the region, as crises become more common with climate change and increasing political instability.

At the same time, like many other researchers we’ve had to adjust our work to be remote, relying at times on local researchers in places we can’t travel to. This is just one of many reasons why local research capacity is so important.

It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of 2020, we led four workshops in two months, making at least 8 inter-city and international trips by the first week of March. While it’s easy to feel cut off here in Thailand, where we haven’t been able to leave the country since then, this has forced us to expand our Thailand-focused work, build networks and get smart about strategy (and finances).

We’ve put together a little ‘year in review’ set of photos below – check them out to see what we’ve been up to. Please continue to follow us on social media, and we’ll try to pick up the newsletter again, we hope to have more opportunities to engage in the coming months and years.

We hope all of you are safe, healthy and well. Thank you for continuing to follow our work. We hope that we can all continue to fight the fights we have ahead of us together, and with wisdom gained from this year.


Aileen and Jon