- By Lokethar
In Myanmar, many Conferences, Meetings, Symposiums, Seminars and Workshops on topics and subjects, which are of interest to the people, are being held. (They are referred to as “events” in the rest of this article).In most of the events, the speakers include local and foreign experts, highly qualified and with wide experience. Most of these events are knowledge dissemination and brainstorming sessions. Perhaps opening up such events to the public could enable those interested in acquiring and/or sharing knowledge which could possibly be of use to those concerned. After all learning has been accepted as being a lifelong process. These events are also a means of acquiring lifelong learning outside of the “Formal Education” system.
“Lifelong ” in my opinion; is until that age of an individual, when due to some disabling physical and health reasons it is not possible anymore for him/her to acquire and use new knowledge. Some people seem to make assumptions that beyond a certain age (of their own reckoning), working, learning new things or expressing opinions on certain matters may not be productive. That goes against the rights of the individual as well as the concept of lifelong learning. One cannot make generalized judgements based on assumptions about a person’s learning ability and his/her capacity to contribute to society. It varies with individuals.
Getting back to the point I am trying to make is that, perhaps the events, unless they are about confidential or sensitive matters, should be open to the public. After all the slogan “together with the people” should be applicable to get opinions and suggestions from the people. Those persons interested in the theme or subject matter of the events should be able to attend; even if in the capacity of an “observer”. Many such events held in foreign countries are open to all. Organizers of such events usually charge the participants for the information and printed learning material as well as for coffee, snacks and lunches that the other “official” participants get free (included in the organizer’s budget). Perhaps the authorities and/ or the private partners concerned could consider doing the same.
A point I would like to make here is that, in Myanmar most of these events are held in a Convention Centre or a hotel in Nay Pyi Taw and the participants are usually composed of government officials, the representatives from the business enterprises, INGOs and NGOs from various parts of the country. Perhaps some of these events which are of interest to professionals and others from among the public, could also be held in Yangon or Mandalay or in other major cities, so as to be accessible to a wider general public.
If the events are related to ASEAN, which mostly Government nominees and experts from the various ASEAN Member States attend, then of course it’s more convenient for such events to be held in Nay Pyi Taw as suitable accommodation and transportation facilities will be readily available for the attendees, including those participants who fly in to Nay Pyi Taw for the event. However, if such events do not involve a large number of participants, they could, by way of a suggestion, be held in the Capital Cities of the States and Regions by turn. It would be a “change of scene” for the participants. It would also mean good exposure for the State or Region, it’s environment and it’s people.