• October 31, 2014

October 29, 2014 ?Three young adults with a strong\r\ncommitment to serving their native Myanmar are making the rounds of Washington,\r\nD.C., and observing work at Nathan Associates as recipients of fellowships from\r\nthe Robert R. Nathan Memorial Foundation.

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The\r\nthree?Wint War Lwin, Zaw Yadanar Hein,\r\nand Win Min?have been following a dizzying schedule of visits and discussions\r\nat U.S. government offices, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations.\r\nThrough exposure to the work at Nathan, they are seeing how economic\r\nconsultants can help countries unleash potential through infrastructure\r\ndevelopment, sound policies, and enhanced trade.

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The three are impressed with the level of interest in Myanmar,\r\nformerly Burma, which is instituting economic and political changes after years\r\nof isolation. They hope to part of that\r\nchange when they complete their fellowships and return home.

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Serving the People

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Win Min will be completing his studies in planning, public\r\npolicy and management at the University of Oregon, then perhaps working\r\nelsewhere, before returning home. ?I want to be sure I have the personal\r\ncapacity to recommend the right policy,? he said. ?I want to work for the\r\ngovernment?but?really, I want to work for the people of Burma.? He is sure that\r\nthe contacts he has cultivated in the United States, and among the networks of\r\npeople interested in Myanmar, will prove very helpful.

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Wint War Lwin, who recently received her master?s from the\r\nYangon Institute of Economics, has a special interest in infrastructure and\r\nsmall- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). She concluded in her thesis that\r\ninfrastructure development is necessary for SME development. Yet infrastructure\r\ndevelopment in Myanmar ?is very weak compared with other ASEAN countries,? she\r\nsaid. She hopes to learn as much as possible about infrastructure during her\r\nfellowship, then work for the Myanmar Development Institute or a similar\r\norganization when she returns.

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Land Reform

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Zaw Yadanar Hein, also a master?s recipient from Yangon,\r\ncares about land reform. ?There are lots\r\nof land issues yet there is and no land reform policy in our country,? she\r\nsaid. The powerful, including the army, can take property from farmers for various\r\nprojects, according to press accounts and rights groups.

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Zaw Yadanar Hein, who also goes by the nickname July?like\r\nthe month?said Americans and foreign guests in Washington ask her about the\r\ntransparency of next year?s general elections and how the government can ?solve the problems? between\r\ngovernment and ethnic groups.

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Myanmar holds special significance for Nathan Associates\r\nbecause of founder Robert R. Nathan?s achievements in Burma from 1953 to 1962,\r\nwhich helped establish the firm?s reputation in economic development.

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Wint War Lwin and Zaw Yadanar Hein began their program at\r\nNathan Associates in October and will be at the firm until early December. Win\r\nMin had to shorten his stay in order to resume his studies.

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The three represent the second group from Myanmar to visit\r\nWashington through fellowships from the Nathan foundation. The program began\r\nafter the United States started to normalize relations with Myanmar and eased\r\neconomic sanctions against it.

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