About Medical Pluralism and Cultural Diversity

Medical pluralism - the existence of multiple healing systems – is an important source for societal development in South-East Asia, a world region of growing relevance and high cultural diversity among and between its nations.


In the entire ASEAN region, from Myanmar to the Philippines, cultural diversity comes along with an enormous plurality of healing systems: modern medical science and alternative traditions from Europe but especially diverse “other “ academic traditions of medicine of Chinese, Buddhist, Indian, or Islamic origin, and the traditional knowledge of the numerous minorities of South-East Asia. The latter in particular – “other” academic and popular healing systems - mirrors an enormous potential for an endogenous development of society and economy by benefitting from traditional medical skills and knowledge to promote public health. It is commonly understood as the main pillar of human development. The conference looks into medical pluralism in South-East Asia from three perspectives:

-          To describe the numerous healing systems and their societal relevance among the diverse ethnic groups of South-East Asia;

-          To analyze their role for the endogenous development of marginalized areas of South-East Asia;

-          To understand the global potential of South-East Asia’s medical pluralism by bringing together scientists, practitioners, activists, and companies from South-East Asia and beyond.

The conference will be sponsored by Thai Nguyen University (TNU), Vietnam, a leading regional university in the northern mountainous areas of Vietnam which is mandated to providing the highest quality training and education, with Giessen University-Germany and Laguna State Polytechnic University-Philippines as co-sponsors, both universities have focused primarily on promoting quality training and research in various aspects of education. The conference is scheduled for three days in March 2017 at TNU Learning Resource Center, Thai Nguyen City, Vietnam, a region of high natural beauty and enormous cultural diversity. The university is located no more than one hour by car from Noi Bai International airport, Hanoi.

Plenary papers by experts and leaders in the fields of health, socio-cultural and economics, and paper presentations/parallel sessions and poster presentations will be the main parts in the conference to identify issues on experiences and latest researches to come up with strategies for cooperative projects. The papers for discussion will focus on four aspects of medical pluralism in South-East Asia:

-          diverse medical schools and traditions,

-          the role of culture in healing systems,

-          local knowledge, and

-          medical pluralism and livelihoods.

Moreover, the conference will facilitate interaction and networking among policymakers, experts, academics, and researchers in promoting the institutionalization of knowledge sharing on health, socio-economic and culture. After the conference, proceedings will be published covering the experiences, lessons learned, and recommendations and the results will further provide plans for international dialogues on Sustainable Development with focus on health, society and economy in Southeast Asia.

The conference attracts several groups of participants including government, science, business and medical staff from Southeast Asian countries and from Europe who can be invited to attend the workshop as part of a tax-reducing vocational training. In particular practical demonstrations from healthcare professions are highly welcome. For these groups different conference fees are advisable. For an international conference the participation of renowned persons is advisable. For participants from Europe an extended program is available.

Conference Fee (for hotel accommodation and food only):

Paper Presenters and Participants from

A.      Southeast Asia:

·         Paper Presenters: USD100

·         Participants: USD150

·         Graduate Students: USD50

B.      Europe:

·         Paper Presenters and Participants: USD150


Call for papers/pre-registration for participants: October 15, 2016

Abstracts/registration for participants (approx. 300 to 500 words) and paper selection: November 30, 2016

Full Papers, poster presentations and drafts on practical demonstrations for conference proceedings etc.: January 30, 2017

Note: Please send your Abstract and Full Papers to: Mr. Dung Nguyen Tuan, Conference Coordinator, through his e-mail: tnuconference2017@gmail.com.


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