(Repostéiert vun: Joint Peace Fund Blog. May 24, 2018)
In Myanmar, more than half the population are under 35 years old. This is where the next generation of peace leaders will be found. Engaging them now in a peace process, that they will in the future be an instrumental part of implementing, is essential for Myanmar to achieve a lasting peace. Yet peace processes are deeply complex, and leading them effectively, demands a specific set of skills.
To help produce a new generation of young people able to rise to this challenge, the JPF is supporting the Thabyay Education Foundation establish an intensive one-year Graduate Research Diploma in Peace Studies. The programme targets young people who are emerging or mid-level leaders in political parties, Ethnic Armed Organizations, CSOs, NGOs and educational institutions in Myanmar. Executive Director Saw Myo Min Thu says: “We intend to equip third-tier civic leaders to contribute to ending violent conflict and building a more peaceful federal democracy in Myanmar.”
Saw Myo Min Thu says that they are targeting young people who are already involved in the peace process and who would benefit more specialized skills. “When I say third-tier leaders, we aim to target young leaders who are supporting first line and second line leaders with technical or educational need. We will teach them research methodologies and peacebuilding and conflict resolution. They are the ones practising and we’ll just teach them a verity of methods and approaches.”
The programme will select about 20 participants and provide them with foundational knowledge of peace leadership studies by exposing them to a range of relevant areas. Topics will include in-depth content related to political science, governance, human rights and justice, where fellows would learn how to understand and analyze critical issues central to peacebuilding on both a local and global scale. These studies will equip fellows with key leadership, technical, and professional skills to enable them to play a critical role in building sustainable peace in Myanmar.
“The first four months will be very intensive inside the class-room, learning research methodology and survey design in social science. We will tailor the course with Myanmar peace process content. We would like to teach them political sensitivity in the process here.
Saw Myo Min Thu says they are looking to support a wide range of applicants: “We’re open to anyone – including applicants from the Union Solidarity and Democratic Party. We’re interested in having a diversified group of participants.”
He says the programme will not only develop skills in peace studies and research but also enhance strategic negotiation and critical thinking skills. At the end of the programme, the trained participants will be able to make recommendations based on evidence-based research when they approach conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
“I believe that peace and education cannot be separated. They have impact on each other. That’s how we envisioned and developed this programme,” he says.