The Burmese American Community Institute (BACI) and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange have announced a partnership supporting the new Myanmar Scholars and Leaders Program (MSLP), according to a press release.
Under this new arrangement, NAFSA will direct funds from the Tamara H. Bryant Endowed Scholarship to support opportunities for Myanmar students and scholars from non-governmental entities to attend graduate school in the United States.
The MSLP has been developed to train and support the next generation of leaders and scholars in Myanmar. Through an open and inclusive process, the program recruits diverse and promising individuals from Myanmar to attend leading universities and graduate schools in the United States—both in Master’s and Ph.D. degree programs—to develop the strong technical expertise and skills needed to assume leadership responsibilities in various sectors in Myanmar and beyond.
Funds for the new scholarships will come from the endowment Tamara Bryant created at NAFSA to assist promising, globally-minded students from Burma to achieve their career goals. Ms. Bryant left Burma during World War II as a refugee, travelling more than 1,500 miles to India by foot, and eventually settled in the United States. Through her journey in life, Ms. Bryant came to realize the difficulties women faced in reaching their potential in the workplace – particularly, women of colour in her newly adopted country. With the recognition of these challenges, her endowment was established at NAFSA to assist students and scholars in achieving their career goals.
“We are excited to honour Tamara Bryant’s commitment to intercultural exchange by supporting students from her home country,” says NAFSA CEO and Executive Director Esther D. Brimmer.
MSLP works with its partners to select the most outstanding individuals from a pool of state employees, non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, emerging leaders, and researchers and seeks to represent the diverse ethnic groups of the country.
“We are humbled and honored to be partnering with NAFSA as we continue to put all the efforts toward helping Myanmar in moving forward to a successful democracy and prosperous nation,” said Elaisa Vahnie, Executive Director of the BACI. “To be a successful and competitive country in the long-run, Myanmar will need to invest itself in quality education and in capacity building, both rapidly and on a large scale, which are the fundamental builders of a democratic society and sustainable development. We hope that this partnership will contribute to that end.”