Oxford is working with the University of Yangon and other Burmese institutions to develop teaching and research standards in the country. Our assistance spans three broad areas: education, development and sustainability.
To improve university education in Burma, Oxford is working closely with the University of Yangon, the country’s most historic institution, to help Yangon become a model for Burma’s other institutions. We have provided strategic advice, staff training, donations of library books and digital resources, and programmes to improve the quality of English used at the University. Augmenting our partnership with Yangon, we have discussed the state of Burmese university education with Burmese civil servants, politicians and non-governmental organisations.
Oxford is aiding Burma’s development through a series of programmes that improve education and research in key social and economic areas. We have authored new texts on Burmese law and provided guest teaching for students and practitioners in a range of legal areas. Building a well-educated quorum of lawyers in the country will help protect hard won constitutional rights and ensure good business practices as the economy expands.
Burma’s social development can also be helped by Oxford-led research investigating the important but undervalued role women play in the country’s economy, as well as the assistance we have offered the University of Yangon in developing their teaching and curriculum in politics and other social science areas.
To help Burma sustain its natural wealth, Oxford has launched a collaborative programme to monitor the state of the rare clouded leopard in the country’s northern forests. As well as camera trapping this charismatic animal, the programme will include educating staff from Yangon and local conservation charities in conservation techniques and zoology research methods. As well as working to preserve wildlife in the country, Oxford has also provided guest teaching in geology.
With better preservation of Burma’s environment an important theme in the NLD’s 2015 election manifesto, Oxford is looking for ways to expand activity in this area.
As Oxford has deepened its engagement in Burma, the University has recruited new experts in the country, including:
- Dr Matthew Walton, who joined St Antony’s College as Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies at St Antony’s College in 2013. His research focuses on religion and politics in Southeast Asia, with a special emphasis on Burma, and he is an expert on the role of Burmese Buddhist political thought and its influence on the country’s current democratic transition. He is also an occasional commentator for news media reporting on Burma, most recently in Asia Times Online and ISLAMiCommentary, addressing Burmese Buddhist nationalism and the issue of anti-Muslim violence.
- Dr Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi, who was appointed to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Research Fellowship in Gender and Burmese Studies at the International Gender Studies Centre at Lady Margaret Hall in 2014. Prior to coming to Oxford, she was a lecturer at the Australian National University, and served as an advisor to the Australian and Burmese Governments, INGOs, universities and civil societies. She was a visiting fellow at the University of Yangon from July to December 2014. Dr Mar is a celebrated social anthropologist, Burma specialist, educator and an acclaimed filmmaker. She recently won the 'Excellence in Research' award, the most prestigious award given to an Australian academic in the area of Gender Studies. Other awards that Dr Mar has received include Australia’s Unsung Hero Award, the UN 100 Women Award, and the International Women's Day award.
Dr Walton and Dr Mar ’s expertise at Oxford has been supplemented by visiting Burmese fellows in politics and international relations who worked in Oxford in 2013, 2014 and 2015, with the support of the Charles Wallace Burma Trust.