May 2013--Nathan Associates is hosting two fellows from Myanmar this May and June thanks to fellowships from the Robert R. Nathan Foundation. Sa Kyaw Thu Ya Aung (left in photo) and Aung Phyo Kyaw (right in photo), who recently received master’s degrees in economics from the Yangon Institute of Economics, are working with us for eight weeks on Myanmar's regional integration with ASEAN and on the development of telecommunications in their country.
Since the United States has normalized diplomatic relations with Myanmar and eased economic sanctions against it, foundation board members sought applicants from Myanmar for 2013 fellowships. Myanmar holds special significance for Nathan Associates and the Robert R. Nathan Foundation because of Robert Nathan’s achievements in Burma from 1953 to 1962, which helped establish his firm’s reputation for important work.
Thu Ya and Kjaw come from different backgrounds in Myanmar—one raised in a rural village, one in the largest city; one an ethnic minority, the other from the largest ethnic group—but share a common goal of helping their country find the right path in its development. Having grown up knowing their country only as Myanmar, they express no nostalgia for the name Burma. As their country opens to the rest of the world, Thu Ya and Kjaw are forward looking and eager to make the most of the new opportunities, for themselves, for their families, and for their country. Besides the regional integration and telecommunications development they are working on, they cited Myanmar’s needs for capital investment of all kinds and electric and water and sanitation infrastructure.
Nathan Associates hopes that this fellowship will expose these young economists to ideas and experiences that help them one day meet the needs of their country.