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USAID Announces Three Higher Education Partnerships for Burma
November 15, 2013

14 November 2013

Entrance gate of Yangon University
A woman walks to the entrance gate of Burma’s Yangon University in 2012. The university will participate in a partnership to revitalize and expand its teaching of international relations and political science.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the three winning partnerships selected under its Higher Education Partnerships to Support the U.S.-Burma Commitment to Democracy, Peace and Prosperity.

The partnerships build on President Obama’s call to “extend a hand” to Burma in its progress toward democracy, the agency said in a November 13 press release.

“Universities can play an important role in Burma’s transition,” said Chris Milligan, USAID/Burma mission director. “Working closely with America’s universities and private sector, we are helping to develop Burma’s leaders of tomorrow, while building the capacity in local universities necessary to sustain democratic and economic reform.”

These are the three partnerships:

• ADEPT — Indiana University and Hewlett-Packard Company aim to deepen and broaden the teaching and outreach capacities of the Yangon Institute of Economics to establish an entrepreneurship center of excellence and to improve the success of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises through information and communication technology–led programs.

• Making a Difference for Myanmar — Through this partnership, Johns Hopkins University, Exxon, Luce Foundation and Serge Pun & Associates will bring American visiting professors to Yangon University to revitalize and expand the teaching of international relations and political science and enable students to apply this knowledge in government, the legislature and civil society.

• ADAPT-IT — This University of Washington, Microsoft and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project will train public, private and civil society leaders on critical information and communications technology skills.

The challenges to the country are stark, with Burma ranked 149 out of 183 countries in the 2012 U.N. Human Development Index, USAID said. These partnerships demonstrate the commitment of the American people to Burma to harness technology and innovative partnerships to accelerate and sustain the country’s reform process, expand economic opportunity and provide more opportunity for citizen engagement, the agency said.

During President Obama’s historic visit to Burma on November 19, 2012— in which he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the country — he announced the U.S.-Burma Partnership for Democracy, Peace and Prosperity, a joint U.S.-Burma framework to lay the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future for Burma.