"We are all gathered here representing all the needs and voices of our respective people, not only studying but also actualizing federalism. We are here laying the foundation of relevant federalism that perfectly fits our unique country which will then serve as the backbone of equality in respect to the Panglong Agreement back in 1947, and together we achieve victory in giving hope to our people", says Padoh Saw Kawe Htoo Win, KNU in his opening remarks as the 5-day, Second Workshop on Political Issues for the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement-Signatories (Ethnic Armed Organizations), organized by the Centre for Development and Ethnic Studies in cooperation with the USAID, opens today at Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon.
As one of the crucial mechanisms and imperatives that CDES is taking through the leadership of Dr. Lian Sakhong in coordination with all the leaders from the EAO's, civic society organisations, women unions, political parties, the government and the Tatmadaw, this 2nd workshop is a serious and critical preparation for the 21st Century Panglong Conference. It is in this time that the specific voices of the major and minor groups will be collected for a common understanding, neither neglecting nor forsaking the true essence of equality.
In this conference slated August 2-6, the specific needs, concerns and issues affecting the ethnic armed organizations are prepared in working papers called proposals, then presented as a matter of negotiation which the participants will be tasked to develop and perform. This then is expected to be a real preparation of the EAOs; to stand confidently in the upcoming 21st Century Panglong which also is called the 2nd Union Peace Conference.
Meanwhile, Prof. David C. Williams and Mdm. Susan H. Williams, key speakers of the said seminar, shall provide the technical assistance and professional guidance in shaping and creating a common framework for the EAOs on the concepts and concerns they need to specifically design for a democratic federalism framework of the country.
All the 56 participants coming from the EAO leaderships, civil orgs and women unions will have a lot of dialogues and question and answer sessions as they shall craft and form their specific section of a federalism government proposal. They shall train to confidently present and negotiate this with the panel of evaluators, as these activities shall be seen as their practical and real preparations for the 21st Century Panglong Conference.
Noteworthy is, that out of today’s 37 EAO representatives, as many as 33 were part of the composition of the 1st NCA-S workshop last May, while four new minds are in the mine.