Nay Pyi Taw, October 29, 2012 — From October 22-26, The Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold led an official delegation to Burma (also known as Myanmar). During this historic visit, President Arnold called on the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar U Thein Sein on October 23. At this official meeting held at the Presidential Palace, President Thein Sein and President Arnold conducted substantive discussions on assistance for the country’s development and rule of law. Last month, President Thein Sein concluded a landmark official visit to the United States, the first by a Myanmar leader since 1966.
Also present at the official meeting were Union Ministers in the President’s Office U Soe Thein, U Aung Min, and U Tin Naing Thein. The Asia Foundation delegation included David Steinberg, former Asia Foundation Deputy Representative to Burma; Gordon Hein, Vice President of Programs; and Kim N. B. Ninh, Country Representative to Vietnam.
During the week-long visit, President Arnold and delegation met with senior government leaders, diplomatic community, and nongovernmental organizations. On October 24, The Asia Foundation donated a special collection of more than 600 volumes to the Burmese Parliament Secretariat – in response to a special request from the Burmese Parliament and a direct outgrowth of the Foundation’s Books for Asia program in Burma, operated in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon.
President Arnold expressed support for President Thein Sein and the organization’s strong interest to work with Burma as a partner at all levels in its historical transition. 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 the country’s democratic transition and long-term development needs. View a slideshow of the visit here.