Two members of the Europe and Everyday CRN – Dr Soeren Keil and Paul Anderson, both of Canterbury Christ Church University’s Politics and International Relations department, – in collaboration with UN Women, the Hanns Seidel Foundation – Myanmar and the Centre for Development and Ethnic Studies, have recently been involved in discussions about the democratisation, peace-building and federalisation process in Myanmar/Burma.
Dr Soeren Keil, Reader in Politics and IR and co-organiser of the EUEve CRN was the Academic Lead for a new Myanmar Federalism Leadership Programme (MFLP), a 10-day programme to prepare activists from civil society, the administration, ethnic armed organisations and political parties for the future discussions on federalism in the country. This is particularly timely, as the next round of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference is scheduled for January 2018. Soeren worked in Nay Pyi Taw, the country’s capital city, from 16-26 November 2017. He represented Canterbury Christ Church at the event, and was in charge of multiple lectures, discussion rounds and inputs. After his work at the MFLP, Soeren participated in two further events, one with a number of civil society activists in Yangon (Rangoon) from 3-5 December 2017 on ‘Advanced Discussions on Federalism’, and another event as a training and discussion forum with the civil society forum for peace, a collection of several NGOs from across Burma.
Paul Anderson, PhD student in Politics and International Relations and communications officer for the EUEve CRN, also contributed to the MFLP with a lecture on autonomy, secession and minority rights, with particular reference to Scotland and Catalonia. In addition to this, Paul spent five days (20 to 24 November) at the Lower Myanmar Civil Service Campus in Phaunggyi, training 35 civil servants on the topics of democracy, decentralisation and federalism.
Both Soeren and Paul shared their expertise on the topics of decentralisation, federalism and territorial autonomy, drawing upon the some of the main themes of the EUEve CRN including crisis and everyday experiences. They have become well respected experts in the country, sharing their knowledge and expertise with a number of actors in the peace process, including leading NGOs, ethnic armed organisations and the civil service.