Myanmar: The latest addition to the Danida and Denmark Alumni family

danida alumni network
The first Denmark alumni gathering in Myanmar was hosted by the Danish Ambassador. Photo: Denmark's Embassy in Myanmar

“Great alumni encounter at the residence yesterday. I am sure you will be good ambassadors for Denmark. Looking forward to work with you,” said Denmark’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Mr John Nielsen, in a tweet the day following the first ever gathering of Denmark alumni in Myanmar.

By Nina Vlemmings

The event, which was held at the Danish Embassy in Yangon, convened a good mix of Danida fellows, EU Erasmus Mundus scholars and people from the Myanmar youth empowerment programme. The majority had never met before, but they were enthusiastic to work together to further strengthen the ties between Denmark and Myanmar.

Danida Alumni Network
Denmark alumni get to know each other and make plans at the first alumni gathering in Yangon. Photo: Denmark's Embassy in Myanmar

In his speech at the event, the ambassador introduced Denmark’s development cooperation priorities in the country, specifically mentioning support to basic quality education for children, labour market reform, climate change adaptation, poverty reduction, peace and social cohesion, governance, the rule of law and human rights. He also shared the embassy’s hopes that the members of the alumni community in Myanmar would continue to function as informal ambassadors for Denmark and help form bonds between the two countries.    

As part of the programme, the participants were divided into four groups to discuss the alumni network’s vision, mission and objectives and to identify activities that they would like to collaborate on as a network. Some of the preliminary decisions and ideas that came out of this exercise included plans to meet up every three months and arrange various activities, including issuing a newsletter twice a year. They also agreed to hold educational seminars and fun fairs to help promote Danish education and culture.

Danida Alumni Network
Denmark Alumni present the results of their group work and ideas for the local alumni network. Photo: Denmark's Embassy in Myanmar.

Besides showing enthusiasm for being part of, and contributing to, this new alumni network, many Denmark alumni in Myanmar also shared the values that they had gained from their time in Denmark. One alum from the University of Copenhagen, Ms Daw Aye Kyawt Swe, who did a Master’s in Sustainable Agricultural Development, stated, “the study experience at my university made me strong and gave me confidence to walk firmly in the rest of my life”. Ms Nwet Kay Khine, an alum who came to Denmark through the EU Erasmus Mundus programme, said that living “with the essence of democracy” during her period of study in Denmark was a remarkable experience.

Danida Fellowship Centre very much looks forward to working with the new network and to follow its developments going forward.


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