The Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar Initiative, funded by IDRC and Global Affairs Canada, supports these two universities in an effort to build capacity for research in Myanmar after 50 years of military rule and isolation. Now that a civil government, elected in 2016, sits in Parliament, this initiative aims to enable a new generation of leaders in research, academia, policymaking, and civil society to generate and use evidence in policymaking.
“In an era of globalization, localization, and information society, we would like to collaborate with global, regional, national, and local partners”, says Yangon University of Economics Rector Tin Win. He signed the MoU on December 5, 2018, with Kai Ostwald, who represented the University of British Columbia as the director of the Centre for Southeast Asia Research and assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.
The two institutions already collaborate on a program led by Ostwald since 2017, with support from the Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar Initiative. The program offers an annual summer school in public policy and year-round mentoring for faculty and a select group of graduate students at Yangon University of Economics. Founded in 1964, this university provides higher learning for professionals in the fields of economics, development studies, public administration, and management. The university produces many of the country’s mid-level and senior managers in government, civil society, and the private sector.
“This is the first ever MoU to be signed between a Myanmar and a Canadian University, and I hope it is the first of many,” said Karen MacArthur, Ambassador of Canada to Myanmar, who witnessed the signing.