Nay Pyi Taw, May 14, 2013 — In a ceremony today, H.E. U Zin Yaw, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and David D. Arnold, President of The Asia Foundation, signed a memorandum of understanding to advance their shared development goals. Last year, The Asia Foundation conducted nearly a dozen in-depth consultations on the country’s long-term development needs with a range of political, academic, and civil society leaders in Myanmar, including a special delegation to meet the President, the Honorable U Thein Sein. The Foundation has worked with virtually every Asian country that has undergone a democratic transition, and is well positioned to make a contribution in Myanmar. “The Asia Foundation’s reconnection with Myanmar comes at an opportune time,” stated the Deputy Minister in his opening remarks. “The Asia Foundation is honored to help support Myanmar/Burma’s democratic transition and long-term development needs,” said Mr. Arnold. “The extraordinary social, political, and economic reforms being undertaken are inspiring, and we are pleased to support the process by expanding our program of development assistance.” The Asia Foundation maintained a resident mission and country program in the Union of Burma from 1958 to 1962, and since 2007 the Foundation has made annual shipments of new English-language books to the country, through which 150 government, non-governmental, and academic institutions throughout the country have received nearly 80,000 books.
The Asia Foundation also announced today that it had appointed Dr. Kim N. B. Ninh to the position of Country Representative for Myanmar. Dr. Ninh is currently the Foundation’s Country Representative in Vietnam, a position she has held for nearly eight years.
Dr. Ninh has served in several key leadership positions at the Foundation, including assistant director of the Governance, Law, and Civil Society Programs, and director of Conflict Management Programs. Prior to joining The Asia Foundation, Dr. Ninh held research and teaching appointments at Australian National University, the East-West Center, and the University of California, Berkeley. She spent two years in Vietnam for her dissertation research and was previously a research associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. She holds a B.A. in political science and English from the University of California, Berkeley; M.A. in international relations and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.
Dr. Ninh has traveled extensively to Myanmar and was part of the delegation that accompanied Mr. Arnold for meetings with President Thein Sein and members of his cabinet October, 2012. Dr. Ninh was also in Nay Pyi Taw for today’s signing ceremony. Read more about the Foundation’s work in Burma/Myanmar. For media inquiries, please visit the Press Room.