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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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Headlines continue to cover the well-known persecution and forced removal of Rohingya Muslims from Burma, but we're also beginning to see more visible coverage of Burma's lesser known conflict with the Kachin, a mostly Christian ethnic group near Burma’s resource-rich northern border.
Two-Minute Take: U.S. to Provide $44 million for Vulnerable People in Burma and Bangladesh
The U.S. has provided more than $299 million in humanitarian assistance for people in and from Burma since October 2016. This additional aid aims to help bring relief to more than 9.3 million people who are affected by conflict and lack basic human necessities. Read more on the details of the announcement.
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.