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Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative Welcomes First Class of Young Leaders from Burma
Today, the George W. Bush Institute at the Bush Center welcomed 18 emerging leaders from Burma as the inaugural Liberty and Leadership Forum class.
The Liberty and Leadership Forum is a new educational program, within the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom portfolio, designed to help prepare democracy advocates from transitional societies to be leaders under new conditions of freedom. It equips young men and women with the knowledge and skills they need to lead in countries where transitions to democracy are occurring. The program uses a curriculum focused on the principles of liberal democracy and economic freedom, lessons from other democratic transitions, and practical leadership skills.
While on a path toward democracy, Burma’s destination is not yet guaranteed. One key to success is ensuring that today’s young democracy advocates in Burma are prepared to be tomorrow’s political and civil society leaders. The inaugural class of young leaders includes men and women active in education, health, politics, human rights, journalism, and other fields. Many spent formative years as political prisoners in Burma.
The Liberty and Leadership program begins with a three-week summer seminar in the United States, including coursework at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, and a four-day experience tour of Washington, D.C. Through a combination of an intensive year-long curriculum, hands-on skill development, and practical application, the men and women of the 2014 Liberty and Leadership class will be equipped to help support democratic change in their home country.
Hannah Abney directs strategic communications and messaging for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, leading a team responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies that help advance the Bush Center’s work in developing leaders, fostering policy, and taking action to save and change lives.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, she led public relations activities for consumer and non-profit brands at The Richards Group. Abney also led communications efforts at a national retail trade association in Washington, DC, and served in the George W. Bush Administration in the Vice President’s Office.
A native of Milwaukee, WI, she is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University (B.A., Music) and lives in Dallas with her husband and young sons.Full Bio
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Nowhere to Call Home
In May 2018, a U.N. Security Council delegation visited Burma’s Rakhine State, where more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted ethnic minority group, have fled military-led violence. The visit is a step in the right direction, but more must be done.
My Medical Journey Through Burma
Nay Lin Tun, a 2017 Liberty and Leadership Forum (LLF) graduate from Burma, is a medical doctor and a Master’s student in the National University of Singapore’s Public Policy program. He recently completed an internship in Burma’s deeply conflicted Rakhine State.