Nonprofit’s ongoing commitment to access to information supports country’s democratic transition
Nay Pyi Taw, October 24, 2012 — In a ceremony today at the Parliamentary Library in Nay Pyi Taw, Burma (also known as Myanmar), senior representatives of The Asia Foundation handed over a special collection of more than 600 volumes to the Burmese Parliament Secretariat. To mark the donation, David D. Arnold, President of The Asia Foundation made a presentation to U Khin Aung Mint, Speaker of the Upper House and Thura U Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament, along with U.S. Ambassador to Burma Derek J. Mitchell and Dawn L. McCall, Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs at the U.S. State Department. The event was attended by many members of Parliament, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who serves as Chairman of the Rule of Law Committee and Dr. Soe Yin, who spoke words of appreciation as the President of Parliamentary Library and E-Library.
The Asia Foundation’s gift of books and periodicals focuses on various aspects of governance, democratization, and parliamentary procedure; it complements a U.S. Embassy in Rangoon donation of 200 titles. The Foundation and the U.S. Embassy donations to the parliamentary library are in response to a special request from the Burmese Parliament. The books will provide Burmese parliamentarians with information about key democracy and development issues facing the country.
The Parliamentary Library book collection is a direct outgrowth of The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program in Burma, operated in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon. The Books for Asia program is highly popular; since 2007, it has distributed more than 100,000 books valued at $4.8 million to 170 government ministries and agencies, schools and universities, NGOs, and community libraries across the country’s 14 states and regions.
On October 25, following the Parliamentary Library ceremony, David D. Arnold and Coordinator Dawn L. McCall will visit the U.S. Embassy’s Baldwin Library at the American Center in Rangoon for a book donation ceremony for its Books for Asia program.
“The Asia Foundation is honored to contribute to the Parliamentary Library’s resources on key governance and parliamentary issues, in partnership with the U.S. Embassy,” said Arnold. “The extraordinary social, political, and economic reforms that Burma is undertaking is inspiring, and we are pleased to support the process by expanding our program of development assistance, including a focus on access to information that builds on our ongoing Books for Asia program.”
The Asia Foundation maintained an office in Burma from 1954 to 1962, and plans to reestablish a country office in Burma in 2013 to support Burma’s democratic transition and long-term development needs.