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A previous class of the Liberty and Leadership program in Washington, D.C. Photo by Silent Images for the George W. Bush Presidential Center

Bush Institute Convenes Fourth Class of Burmese Democracy Advocates for Liberty and Leadership

August 13, 2019
23 Scholars to Participate in “Liberty and Leadership” Training Program

Dallas, Texas (August 13, 2019) – This week, the George W. Bush Institute launched the fourth class of Liberty and Leadership, a program that trains young scholars on the principles of leadership, democracy, and economics. The current program convenes 23 democracy advocates from Burma to equip them with the knowledge and skills to lead during their country’s democratic transition. Mrs. Laura Bush’s longstanding commitment to democratic change in Burma contributed to its selection as the initial country of focus.

2019-2020 Liberty and Leadership scholars include:

  • Aung Hlaing Win, a Member of Parliament in Burma’s House of Representatives who represents the Yangon region for the National League for Democracy (NLD)
  • Aung Kyaw Moe, a two-time political prisoner who researches Burmese peace, politics, and diversity at Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica, a non-governmental think tank
  • Aung Myin Thu, the founder of Adhipati Education Group, which offers English-based personal development programs and debate education to children in Mandalay
  • Brang Chyoi, the interim director of Educational Initiatives, a capacity-building program for ethnic communities
  • Hla Hla Win, the founder and director of the Women Development Society, who focuses on voter education and promoting dialogue on topics like gender-based violence
  • Kalayar, an executive member and treasurer of the NLD in Yangon
  • Khaing Khaing Oo, a skills development and employment officer at HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation who trains youth in vocational skills and helps them find jobs
  • Kham Lam Tuang, an author who leads the Zomi Congress for Democracy’s youth affairs department
  • Mi Hla Chaw, an executive officer and founding member of the Jamoi Foundation, an organization that assists students in Mon State with study abroad opportunities
  • Mi Mi Thin Aung, an independent consultant in gender equality, social inclusion, and social work
  • Min Thu Aung, a political and human rights author and the founder and editor-in-chief of Channel FFE, a media production company focused on freedom, fairness, and equality
  • Mon Yee Kyaw, founder and executive director of Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica, an organization that promotes federalism, secularism, civilian supremacy, and a knowledge-based society
  • Nang Moe Sandi Lwin, a senior program officer at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems who provides training on democratic processes like voter and civic education
  • Nang Mgwe Hlaing, a lawyer and coordinator of humanitarian response for DanChurchAid, which aims to strengthen civil society, build resilient communities, and fight inequality
  • Naw Saw Eh Htoo, manager of BBC Media Action program Yay Kyi Yar “Toward Clearer Waters,” which disseminates information to migrant workers on the risks and opportunities of migration
  • Nay Lin Htike, a senior program officer at the Asia Foundation who is passionate about LGBT rights and the protection and inclusion of minority groups
  • Saw Eden, a nutrition program advisor at Save the Children who works to strengthen health systems and integrate nutrition into food security and livelihood projects
  • Seng Aung Sein Myint, a consultant for the Ethnic Identity Research Project which seeks to better understand systems that institutionalize discrimination toward some while allocating benefits to others
  • Seng Nu Pan, a lawyer and political activist in Kachin State who provides expertise on youth-related policy at the state and national levels
  • Thosmir, who leads logistics at United Nations World Food Program and coordinates food delivery to communities affected by natural disaster, armed conflict, and health issues
  • Tun Tun Win, who coordinates education for the Ta’ang Students and Youth Union, an organization that empowers young people and impoverished Ta’ang villagers with educational opportunities, financial assistance, and human rights support
  • Ye Yint Naung, a policy advocate at Equality Myanmar who works to end child labor and empower vulnerable children through theater and artistic expression
  • Yee Lae Lae Win, previously a journalist in exile in Thailand who now trains community leaders in non-violent communication, conflict resolution, and peaceful negotiation

This week’s training takes place in Bagan, Burma, where scholars are participating in courses focused on leadership development, teambuilding, conflict resolution, and networking led by the Bush Institute’s Senior Program Manager of Human Freedom Jieun Pyun, the Bush Institute’s Bradford M. Freeman Director of Human Freedom Lindsay Lloyd, SMU Cox School of Business Professor Jay Carson, and CEO of the Collective Academy Emily Drake.

In October, scholars will travel to Dallas and Washington, D.C. to participate in site visits and continue their training, including sessions on federalism, civil-military relations, economics, and democracy with Bush Institute Human Freedom Fellow Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, leadership expert Jerry Magar, and others.

In February 2020, scholars will reunite in Yangon, Burma, for a capstone week to meet with policy makers, pitch their personal leadership projects to potential investors, and graduate from the program.

These experiences seek to develop foundational leadership skills while exploring principles of democracy that are critical to a transitioning country’s success.

“We want to cultivate a new generation of leaders in Burma that delivers positive change, pursues innovative solutions, views diversity as a strength, and shows optimism and resilience that inspires others,” said Jieun Pyun, who manages the Liberty and Leadership program.

As President George W. Bush has said, “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. Our goal...is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.”