Michaelmas Talk on Democracy in Myanmar by CUSEAS

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News Desk

Cambridge University South East Asian Society (CUSEAS) has arranged Michaelmas[1] Talk on ‘Democracy in Myanmar’ at Pembroke College, UK on 26 November 2019. Some energetic young activists of Myanmar are participating in that event.

Myanmar is a unitary parliamentary republic under its constitution of 2008. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Myanmar as a “hybrid regime” in 2016. The military of Myanmar holds a large amount of power in the government, despite the end of the last Burmese military dictatorship. Myanmar has long been under strict military rule until just four years ago, when the National League of Democracy (NLD) won the first elections that took place in decades and formed the country’s first civilian government. However, even with the promise of democracy, Myanmar is still struggling with long-running civil wars, various restrictions and censorships; furthermore, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has limited political power and motive to make real changes.

Since 2015, 44 journalists and 142 activists have faced trial, and the military crackdown of the Muslim Rohingya has received renewed global criticism. Thinzar is striving for freedom of expression as well as human rights to become applicable to all citizens including ethnic minorities. She believes the youth have the potential to help implement social justice for all within the country.

Thinzar Shunlei Yi is a political activist and a youth advocate in Myanmar, a rare voice from a woman in a country with a record of arbitrarily arresting and jailing its more vocal political dissidents.

Thinzar graduated with a B.Ed Degree from Yangon University of Education. She is currently charged under the Protest Law and has been facing trial for a year now, after she co-organized an anti-civil war protest in 2018. She currently works with Action Committee for Democracy Development as an Advocacy Coordinator, campaigning for administration pillar reform. She also hosts a weekly TV Show, “Under 30 Dialogue”, on which she discusses various sensitive political issues with prominent youth leaders across sectors. For her efforts on positive social change, she was awarded the “Emerging Young Leaders Award” by the U.S Department of States in 2016 and the “Women of the Future South East Asia Award” in 2019.

[1] Michaelmas is a Christian festival observed in some Western liturgical calendars on 29 September. In some denominations a reference to a fourth angel, usually Uriel, is also added. Michaelmas has been one of the four quarter days of the financial year. In Christian angelology, the Archangel Michael is the greatest of all the Archangels and is honored for defeating Satan in the war in heaven.
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