Training Local Political Parties and Civil Society on Federalism and Peace in Myanmar
The Centre for Development and Ethnic Studies (CDES) teamed up with the Ayeyarwaddy Social Development Organization to conduct a three-day training on democracy, federalism and peace at the Shekinah Hotel in Pathein, Ayeyarwady Region. The training was held from 16 to 18 March and welcomed 50 participants from various backgrounds, including 13 different political parties and other civil society organizations (CSOs). The training sessions and lectures were led by senior officers of CDES, including its Executive Director Salai Ngun Lian Sang.
After the three-day training, CDES organized a peace forum on 19 March at the Pathein Hotel in Pathein, which was attended by a total of 155 people. At the peace forum, Salai Ngun Lian Sang (Executive Director), Saya Yan Kyaw (Senior Lecturer and political analyst) and Saya Naung Kyaw (Senior Speaker) from CDES spoke with the audience about the main issues in Myanmar’s peace process. They were accompanied by U Tin Lin Aung from the Green Peasant Institute (GPI), who addressed the reforms in Myanmar’s land use policy, and by Daw Swe We Nway who highlighted the importance of women’s participation in the country’s transition towards peace and federalism.
The next destination for the CDES training team was the city of Bago in the Bago Region. A three-day training was held here from 27 to 29 March for a group of 40 participants. The training included various presentations and workshops and gave the participants advice on how to best support their community using the knowledge they gained during the training sessions. Furthermore, two people with disabilities from the Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI) were among the participants. One of them pointed out that many people with disabilities are unable to participate in this kind of trainings and events; not because of their handicap but because of the limited accessibility of the venues used. To make events as inclusive as possible, it is therefore of great importance to provide an accessible and convenient environment for people with disabilities, the elderly and women.
After the training, a public peace forum was held in Bago, which was attended by more than 200 people. During the discussion, Salai Ngun Lian Sang stated that in order to achieve the peace we want, we must continue to conduct trainings, workshops and political dialogues to establish a common ground and prevent further violence. At the forum, Parliament Lawyer Daw Zar Mi Oo passionately advocated for the participation of women in democracy and the peace process, and she encouraged women to speak up and make their voices heard.
12th Batch Completes the Saturday School of Federalism
The twelfth edition of one of CDES’ longest running programs, the Saturday School of Federalism, was successfully concluded on 30 March 2019. During the four consecutive Saturdays of the program, a wide range of training sessions and workshops were organised at the CDES office for a group of 36 participants to develop and enrich their knowledge on major themes in Myanmar’s transition towards a democratic federal union. The four-day training program focused primarily on democracy, federalism and its division of powers, self-determination, the peace process and gender equality. Among the participants were university students from the Political Science and Law Departments as well as staff members from NGOs and other civil society organisations that contribute to Myanmar’s democratisation and peace building processes. A total of 286 people have now received a certificate for successfully completing the Saturday School of Federalism, and more batches will follow in the future.