This is the first installment in a seven-part series of articles that will explore in detail the background, significance and future of Centre’s growing relationship with Myanmar.
While Centre College proudly provides its students the experience to study abroad, students from overseas often take the opportunity to leave their home countries to study at Centre as well.
Considering that international students comprised 7.6 percent of Centre’s student body in the 2015-16 academic year (as compared to just 2.2 percent in 2006-07), Centre has become increasingly more attractive to students hailing from all around the globe.
Although many of these students come from China, several in recent years have arrived from one of its southern neighbors, Myanmar.
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a culturally and resource-rich nation of 60 million inhabitants in Southeast Asia that, until recently, suffered under a violent and erratic military regime.
Director of the Center for Global Citizenship Kyle Anderson explained in a 2016 WENR article that this military junta “strategically dismantled and neglected [Myanmar’s] higher education system and routinely targeted youth, monks and educated adults as enemies of the state.”
In fact, the military notably dismantled Yangon University, the nation’s flagship institution and demolished its student union, viewing higher education as “a locus of political dissent,” according to Anderson.
However, since the end of military rule in 2011, Myanmar has become dedicated in many ways to rebuilding its once great reputation as a leader in higher education in Asia.
One of these ways includes cooperating with foreign institutions to help realize Myanmar’s vision of developing its human capital once more and restoring its higher education system.
In recent years, Centre has developed an interesting relationship with Myanmar.
Myanmar has provided the College’s community with international students, undergraduate research and internship opportunities, postgraduate positions and a groundbreaking opportunity for institutional partnerships.
Centre graduated its first students from Myanmar nine years ago: Thet Naing Win ’08 and Thiri “Cynthia” Myat ’08.
More recent students from that nation include Khun Nyan Min Htet ’17, Eh Nay Thaw ’18 and Me Me Khant ’20, all of whom sought the wide variety of educational opportunities that Centre offers.
The College is also dedicated to preparing a home for these high-achieving international students.
Representatives from Centre who have recently visited Myanmar for recruitment purposes include Anderson, Associate Director of Admission Sarah Miller, and Director of the Lincoln Scholars Program Robert Schalkoff. They anticipate more students from Myanmar making the long journey across the Pacific in the future.
By Adeel Ahmed ’18
August 11, 2017
Above Photo: Centre students, Charles Ely ’19 and Ellen Tyra ’19, are featured with students from the Parami Institute for Liberal Arts & Sciences in Myanmar.