Students at Oxford University will fly to Burma for two weeks on Monday (March 25), after being invited by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during her visit to Oxford last year.
Eight Oxford students will travel to different parts of Burma and spend time with young Burmese people who are involved in youth leadership and civic development projects.
The Oxford students chosen include some with research interests relevant to Burma, some with an interest in the economy and governance of developing countries, and others who have made a positive contribution to youth participation in communities.
The visit has been organised by the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) with the support of Oxford University, working closely with Oxford Hub, which is a centre for student volunteering in Oxford.
It is hoped that the trip will mark the beginning of a ongoing relationship between Oxford students and young people in Burma. Schemes including a summer school for Burmese children to learn English, and teacher training, are also already in development.
'This visit emerged from an invitation given by Aung San Suu Kyi to OUSU last summer when she was in Oxford, and with the University's backing we're now in a position to accept that invitation,' said David J. Townsend, President of OUSU.
'While the re-engagement of Burma with the international community has been continuing apace, as evidenced by official visits from political leaders of Australia, the US and the UK, re-engagement requires more than just diplomatic and economic connexions: it requires a connexion between young people, and students in particular, if it is to be meaningful and lasting.
'Oxford is in a unique position to be part of this re-engagement, and I am proud to lead a delegation that shows Oxford students to be outward-focused, public-spirited and keen to engage with our counterparts all around our wide world.'
Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: 'Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to Oxford last year has left a big impact on Oxford University and all who study and work here. A number of projects to bring Oxford and Burma closer together are underway and this student exchange is a particularly promising example of that.'
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, an alumna of St Hugh’s college, collected an honorary doctorate from the University in June 2012.