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Liberty and Leadership Forum in Mandalay, Burma
In early January 2016, the Bush Institute held an in-country training for our Liberty and Leadership Forum in Mandalay, Burma. This was a part of the year-long program which includes more than 115 hours of training around three pillars of study: the principles of liberal democracy and economic freedom, lessons from other democratic transitions, and practical leadership and management skills. Leading scholars and experts from SMU and other universities provide world-class instruction.
The Liberty and Leadership Forum is an innovative educational and training program that equips young leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed during a democratic transition. The goals of the program are to foster democratic political currents, cultivate networks of individuals unified around a common vision, and prepare men and women for increased leadership in countries where transitions to freedom are occurring.
While there are often many short-term training opportunities in countries where a political opening has just occurred, longer-term sustained engagement with emerging leaders in these societies is rare. The year-long Liberty and Leadership Forum helps ensure that participants are gaining the intended knowledge and skills and that the program’s intended impact can be achieved.
Christopher Walsh serves as a Manager for the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Christopher manages communications, evaluation, and public policy research projects that advance freedom and democracy in the world. He also develops and implements efforts to make the Bush Institute a welcoming place for today’s generation of dissidents and democracy advocates, overseeing visits for training, inspiration, and insight.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Christopher worked with the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C. As IRI’s program officer for Central and Eastern Europe, he coordinated political party building and civic advocacy programs in the Balkans and Turkey.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Christopher is a graduate of American University with a B.A. in International Studies. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife and three young children.Full Bio
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ICYMI: Bush Institute Young Leader Discusses the Rohingya Crisis on Nightline
Bush Institute Liberty and Leadership Forum young leader Nickey Diamond (Ye Myint Win), of Yangon, Burma, recently spoke to ABC’s Bob Woodruff about the Burmese government’s brutal persecution of the Rohingya people. During the interview, Diamond explained how one-sided messages from the Burmese government and Buddhist leaders manipulate the general public into hating the Rohingya and believing they are terrorists. The segment also enabled Diamond to share his human rights work, which documents Burmese military officers’ crimes against humanity. Diamond has been threatened and often worries for his family’s safety. Still, he told Woodruff, “They’ll never stop what I’m doing.” Watch the full story on ABC Nightline.