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UNSW Engagement in Myanmar/Burma

Since moving to UNSW, I have been interested to learn more about the various initiatives related to Myanmar that the Law Faculty has ongoing. There are three main areas: the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project; legal education; and the Diplomacy Training Program.

Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project
In 2013, the Australia-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Workshop was established and originally directed by Professor Wojciech Sadurski of the University of Sydney, in cooperation with a network of scholars from UNSW, ANU and NUS. Professor Martin Kruyger and Professor Adam Czarnota of UNSW participated with other academics in a workshop held in Yangon in May 2013. The workshop was sponsored by the Australian embassy, Rotary International, Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the respective universities. The workshop was attended by a wide range of civil society organisations, lawyers, judges, and politicians. See report on proceedings here, and media release here and here.

In February 2014, Martin Krygier and Theunis Roux organised a forum on constitutional reform in Myanmar ‘Stumbling Towards Democracy?’ at UNSW Law school. Guest speakers included U Htay Oo, National League for Democracy (NLD); U Thein Than Oo, Myanmar Lawyers Network; and Janelle Saffin, lawyer and former federal MP. See here.

In 2014, Martin Krygier and Theunis Roux took over as facilitators of the Australia Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project, in collaboration with the networks of academics from Sydney, ANU and NUS centrally involved. In November 2014, workshops were held in Yangon and Naypyidaw. It was sponsored by Australian embassy, Rotary International, Konrad Adenauer Foundation. See report on proceedings here, and here. There are plans for this project to continue and the project (thanks to the hard work of Catherine Renshaw, Martin Krygier and Theunis Roux) has received a grant that will support the Australian-Myanmar Constitutional Democracy Project in 2015-2016.

Legal Education
In 2014, UNSW Law School signed an MOU with Mandalay Law Department. This was the initiative of Professor Carolyn Penfold and Professor Brendon Edgeworth, who visited the Law Department at Mandalay University last year.

In late February 2015, several law professors from the Law Department at Mandalay University will visit the UNSW Law School.

Diplomacy Training Program (DTP)
The Diplomacy Training Program is a unique initiative that is affiliated with the UNSW Law School and has a strong history of capacity building in the region. In May 2014, the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP), led by Patrick Earle,  held its first human rights training program in Yangon, Myanmar. Australia’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Bronte Moules, hosted a reception for the participants and for DTP’s alumni. U Win Mra, the chairperson of the Myanmar Human Rights Commission participated in the closing ceremony and the awarding of UNSW certificates. See here for more information.

In November 2014, the 24th Annual Regional Human Rights and Peoples’ Diplomacy Training Program was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in partnership with INSEC, and some participants from Myanmar attended the program.

Further collaboration with partners from Myanmar is anticipated for 2015.

University of Mandalay, 2013

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