Hundred days of Myanmar’s Democracy

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In June, I was lucky enough to stay in Myanmar for a month. At that time, Myanmar had spent around 100 days with the first civilian government in more than 50 years. As an international relations student, I would like to learn about the transition to democracy and its impact on national security in a divided society, and try to publish an opinion editorial about Myanmar’s peace process between the Burmese government and the ethnic minorities.

My preparation for the field research was not easy. I arranged around many interviews with politicians, scholars, activists, NGO officials, lawyers, members of rebel forces, and religious leaders. However, I had to constantly reschedule most of the interviews after I arrived in Yangon. There were so many unexpected happenings right before the interviews. For example, the parliamentary section was closed all of sudden and I had to cancel my trip to Nay Pyi Daw, the unpopulated capital city where there are only the governmental buildings. I found that monthly planning would hardly be possible in Myanmar. Fortunately I was still able to meet important people and they shared their thoughtful insight about peace process.

Through interviews, I learnt a lot about the history of conflict between Burmese and the ethnic minorities, government’s effort for peace process, and general public perception about the civilian government. I met a number of very important government officials including the Minister of Social Affair, and members of the Central Executive Committee of the NLD. I was so privileged to talk with them about nationwide peace process.

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Interview with the chairperson of the NLD, former Chief of Staff of Myanmar Army

Plus, I could learn various perspectives from scholars, lawyers, and NGO officials about conflict resolution in Myanmar. I was fascinated by their knowledge and passionate fieldwork. I really hope that the government takes the valuable opinion that they offer and reflect in decision-making. I was also able to meet people from ethnic minorities such as a member of rebel forces, activists and religious leaders. It was a great opportunity to understand why there has been much antagonism between Burmese and the minorities.

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Interview with the Executive Director of Metta Foundation

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Interview with the Executive Director of the Centre for Strategy and International Studies

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Interview with the religious leaders (Christian) of Kachin State

I had a chance to visit a refugee camp near Yangon. I met young students aged between 10 and 14 in the camp and had a chat about peace in the country. They clearly remember the tragedy happened to their family. However, I was overwhelmed by their thoughts about peace process. They are willing to forgive people who have destroyed their family and communities, and eager to have a harmonized country.

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Refugee (IDPs) Camp Visit

My article will be published through J Magazine on 17 September in South Korea. I am still looking for an English media that can publish my article.

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