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Interesting Times in the United States and Burma
Two weeks ago, the Bush Institute welcomed its third Liberty and Leadership Forum class to Dallas.
“It’s an interesting time to be in the United States.” This was a common refrain heard by the Bush Institute’s newest class of 21 Young Leaders from Burma as they met policy makers, experts, and government officials in Washington, D.C.
The comment was of course a nod to the 2016 presidential election that’s been driving national conversations about the American democratic process.
Burma is experiencing interesting times of its own. In the past year, Burmese citizens overwhelmingly elected the pro-democracy National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. This August, the new government initiated a groundbreaking peace conference designed to promote negotiations between Burma’s military and warring ethnic groups and explore the virtues of a federal democratic system.
Two weeks ago, the Bush Institute welcomed its third Liberty and Leadership Forum class to Dallas. The program engages participants on political philosophy, democratization, and leadership, but it also brings them to Washington, D.C. to experience classroom theory in practice The Young Leaders were eager to absorb lessons that might be applied back home in advancing their burgeoning democracy.
They traversed the city hearing about civil-military relations in a democracy from Undersecretary of the Army Patrick Murphy, understanding how the National Archives tangibly connects citizens to their government from U.S. Archivist David Ferriero, discussing policy with congressional staff on Capitol Hill, sitting in the Supreme Court to hear about the country’s most consequential cases, learning about the horrors of genocide from a Holocaust survivor at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and being inspired by the monuments dedicated to the Founding Fathers of American democracy.
A great underlying theme of the visit was how an informed, engaged citizenry is the life blood of freedom and democracy. Whether American or Burmese, mature or transitioning democracy, interesting times or not, it’s a lesson that must never be forgotten.
People of Courage
Bush Institute's Jieun Pyun reflects on module two of the Liberty and Leadership program and discusses how the scholars are improving living conditions for people in Burma.
South Dallas’s Bonton Farms Hosts Liberty and Leadership scholars and Mrs. Laura Bush
The Bush Institute’s 23 Liberty and Leadership scholars from Burma are spending three weeks in the United States for Module 2 programming.
Witnessing Burma's Transition Through Its People
Learn how the Liberty and Leadership Scholars, together with others in Burma, are forging a path to democracy and peace, bringing diverse communities together through mutual understanding and respect.
Bush Institute Leaders Are Contributing to Burma's Democratic Transition
Since the launch of the Liberty and Leadership Program, the Bush Institute has engaged 79 men and women from Burma, including former political prisoners, civil society activists, members of parliament, journalists, educators, health practitioners, and other emerging leaders.