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Liberty and Leadership Forum Graduates: Evelyn's Vision for Burma
Twenty Burmese Young Leaders in the Bush Institute’s Liberty and Leadership Forum graduated from the program in May. Over the past year, they’ve applied the skills and concepts from the program to help advance Burma’s historic democratic transition. We’re proud of everything our Young Leaders have accomplished and want to share their stories. We talked with Evelyn about her work in Burma, her time in the Forum, and things to come.
1. Describe what you are doing in Burma? What inspired you to do this kind of work and why is it important?
I’m establishing a project that provides jobs for women producing traditional clothing. I’m networking now with small, local factories in our state. We’ll work on business plan training and proposal writing in the coming months.
My goal is for women to get jobs with a proper income while maintaining the practice of making traditional costumes and making them well-known around the world.
We’re doing this because most women in our community are under the control of their families and do house work. Minority women who do work outside their homes have very low wages. I want to increase their economic opportunity.
2. How did the Liberty and Leadership Forum inspire you?
It is a great opportunity learning about leadership skills and democratic principles which obviously support our democratic reform movements in Burma. The Liberty and Leadership Forum creates a network of young Burmese leaders from different backgrounds to share knowledge.
3. As you think about the future, what is your vision for Burma and how will you help make it a reality?
I dream of a united, federal state with rich democratic principles. There will be no civil war, no discrimination regardless of ethnicity, religion, or gender. And the fundamental rights of human beings will be respected. To realize this dream, everyone is responsible. As a Liberty and Leadership Forum alumna, I must consistently apply the lessons learned from the forum in my daily life.
I am going to lead our community in raising our voices to support peace and cooperate with the local democratic government to create positive change in our region.
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.