Commemoration of Centennial: Bringing the University Back into Excellence (Part 3)

Students from UY and ANU joint presentation after sharing their political, history and culture.

Professor Chaw Chaw Sein (PhD), University of Yangon

Continued from previous article on 28 November

The year 2020 is a remarkable year for University of Yangon (UY) as it is celebrating the centennial milestone for its establishment in 1920. To commemorate this event, the Department of International Relations (IR) is pleased to share information on how it has been contributing in upgrading the development of University. With the reopening of University in 2013, it has signed MoU with more than fifty universities from Australia, Japan, China, Korea, UK, and Germany etc. Under these MoU, Department of IR is collaborating with international universities and institutions such as Kyoto University for research collaboration, Central European University for Research Fellow, Passau University and Chuo University for faculty and student exchange Chung Ang University for International Development Studies Diploma Programme, Yunnan University for joint research publication and Australia National University for exchange programme and research collaboration.
Our Department has been trying to fulfill the vision and mission of the University by making efforts to produce excellent human resources and future leaders for our country. In this regard, our Department’s activities include, and are not limited to, inviting foreign specialists for curriculum development, providing seminars and special talks to the classes, sending qualified students abroad to participate in the international conferences, workshops and seminars, and launching short-term exchange programmes.
Student mobilization as part of internationalization is important in this age of globalization. In this regard, the University has been successful in arranging both outbound and inbound students. From 2016 till present, more than 50 students from IR Department joined oversea training programmes. Among the outbound students, a remarkable achievement of our Department is that two political science students from IR Department won Myanmar President Scholar Awards in 2016 and in 2017 respectively. Under this scholarship scheme, Ma Ye Yint achieved BA degree in International Security Studies from ANU in 2018 and Naw Gladys Maung Maung achieved BA degree in Political Science from Oregon State University in 2019. In addition, more than ten students from the Department received SHARE scholarship programme, a programme designed for intra ASEAN and ASEAN-EU mobility. Scholarship winners get an exceptional opportunity to study in ASEAN and EU universities for a semester under this programme.
The reopening of University after Myanmar’s political transition paved way for the students to network with many partner universities both in the region and in the world. After becoming a member of Asia University Alliance (AUA), teachers and students from the University were able to participate in the various AUA activities, workshops and seminars. Among them, six students from IR Department joined the AUA student activities programmes including “Appreciating Diverse Communities through Arts”, “Youth Forum” and “Youth Innovation” etc. By participating in these activities and by getting out of their own comfort zone, students gain more confidence, international experiences and social networks.
With the changes taking place in Myanmar, several oversea students show interest to study in our University. From 2015-2020, our department has received nineteen oversea students from several countries including Germany, Australia, Japan, Korea, Cambodia and China. Among these oversea students, there were some notable students. Ms. Ji Sun, Lee from Hanyang University, Korea achieved Master of International Relations degree from our University in 2018. Ms Ying Yao, a PhD student, enrolled at the University under a joint PhD programme (Tsinghua University, University of Yangon, the Johns Hopkins University) from 2016-2018.
In addition, under the student exchange programme, our Department hosted three undergraduate students who won New Colombo Plan scholarships from 2016 to 2019, five students from Passau University, Germany from 2015-2019, four Japanese students from Chuo and Nagoya universities, Japan from 2017-2019. The benefits of having inbound students are that they can establish inter student networks by sharing history, culture, economy, and political development of their countries of origin as well as exchange ideas and facilitate discussions with our students, fostering different perspectives. They also enjoyed study tour visit with our students and participating the university sports competition.
In order to strengthen people-to-people connectivity and to understand Myanmar politics, history, language and culture, the Department of IR also has welcomed students and study tours from ANU, Nagoya University and Semester at Sea in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively.
The reopening of the University in 2013 with outstanding students aims to bring the University back into its excellence. At this point, it needs to provide a high level of education, training and capacity enhancement. With this strong desire, the Department invited and hosted foreign specialists with generous support from ministry, embassies and foundations. The American Embassy in Myanmar provided two Fulbright scholars, who were from University of Southern California, Los Angeles (2014-2015 academic year) and from Texas Tech University, Political Science (2015-2016 academic year). Between 2016 and 2019, the Department invited young teaching fellows from the Central European University, who supported in conducting the classes in research methodology, geopolitics, public policy and public administration classes. It is a great opportunity for the young generations of our University to learn from foreign specialists and expand their knowledge; an opportunity that we did not receive in our University lifetime in the past decades.
The University is going to launch the 100-year event on 1st December 2020. In this regard, the article would like to draw attention to all the alumni and young generations of the University to be a part in this very rare and once in a life time special occasion of the University Centenary.
To be continued

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