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Burma Center for Transitional Studies, 2013

 

Centrum pro studium demokracie a kultury

Burma Center for Transitional Studies is a long-term project implemented by Centrum pro studium demokracie a kultury (CDK), in partnership with local organization Educational Initiatives which is based in Yangon, Burma. The overarching goal of the project is to provide ongoing support to civil society and political activists and their organizations from across Burma in an attempt to strengthen their knowledge of democracy and transitions to democracy as well as to strengthen their analytical, critical thinking and strategic planning skills to improve the chances of genuine democratization in Burma.  We want to help pro-democracy activists better understand the changes of Burma’s political system so that they can become an active, knowledgeable, skilled, confident and motivated force in promoting human rights, democracy, reconciliation and peace. To this end, we offer activists trainings to help them understand the challenges and opportunities that societies face when countries move from authoritarianism to democracy. Another main aim of the Educational Initiatives is to enable stronger solidarity, understanding and trust between activists of different ethnic backgrounds as they study, strategize and work together to help create a better, more democratic future for their country. 

In addition to those overall goals, in the year 2014 CDK and Educational Initiatives have two main specific objectives. The first one is to activate our strong network of alumni, which organizations have developed over the past 3 years, to deliver trainings in the states and divisions of Burma. Our alumni and their organizations will be key partners to us as we begin to travel around the country and provide Educational Initiatives Regional Seminars in locations outside of Yangon, particularly ethnic minority areas. The second specific objective is to empower and activate the still largely untapped resource of women activists around the country through our trainings so that they become stronger political participants in society.

Our ongoing objective is to continue contributing to the political education of the broader public that is interested and engaged in political and civil society matters through our translation, publishing, curriculum development, film distribution, and social media programs.

To achieve these objectives we plan in the period from January 2014 to March 2015 to organize in Yangon two 3-week long Alumni Re-union Strategic Planning Seminar, one 1-month long Advanced Transition to Democracy Course, and one 6-week long Women Leadership Course. Outside of Yangon, in different regional centers of different states and divisions, we plan to run fifteen 5-to 6-day long Transition to Democracy Regional Seminars and twelve 3-day Women’s Leadership Regional Seminars. In addition we plan to conduct six 1-week long seminars in Yangon for the NLD, 88 Generation (Open Myanmar Initiative) and Myanmar Journalist School.

In order to continue supporting access to political articles and fostering intellectual debate about recent developments in Burma, EI will translate and distribute at least 15 more articles from the Journal of Democracy. A compilation of 20 translated articles will be published in the book Paths to Democracy. We will also publish a textbook titled Introduction to Transition to Democracy, which will cover a variety of topics related to transitions to democracy. EI will continue to use documentary films as a way to build understanding of and open dialogue around human rights issues and democratic values.

The currently project builds upon the work we have done with the the Czech MFA, NED and OSI support of the Foreign Affairs Training Program (2011-2012) and the Burma Center for Transition Studies Project (January – December 2012), as well as the Croatian MFA support to the Women’s Leadership for Peace Program (June 2013 – March 2014).

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