Soros says Myanmar ‘a longer-term investment that paid off’

02 May 2015
Soros says Myanmar ‘a longer-term investment that paid off’
Billionaire philanthropist George Soros, chairman of the Open Society Foundations, speaking at Asia Society in New York on April 20, 2015. Photo: Elena Olivo/Asia Society

American philanthropist and investor George Soros has warned that ethnic tensions and a lack of tolerance threaten economic and political progress in Myanmar, a country to which Mr Soros has devoted more than two decades of attention and philanthropy. 
Speaking at the Asia Society in New York on April 30, Mr Soros said that ethnic and religious tensions ... are the most disturbing part of the process of reform in Myanmar, and tolerance towards marginalized groups such as the Rohingya Muslims, may determine the legacy of President U Thein Sein.
Overall Mr Soros praised Myanmar for its early steps toward democracy and economic reform. He called his own efforts in the country as "a longer-term investment that paid off ... I don't think I ever had a financial investment as long-term as that."
Mr Soros was referring to the efforts he put in to the country, rather than a financial payoff. He has devoted personal resources and worked through his Open Society Foundation to help students who led a democracy movement, to strengthen a fledgling education system, to upgrade the country's telecommunications network, and help in the election process.
Mr Soros' appearance was part of a season of Asia Society programming focused on Myanmar, including a Buddhist art exhibition.