HONOLULU (Feb. 21, 2013) – In the coming year, the East-West Center is planning to conduct two of its signature media exchange programs in Burma (also called Myanmar). It is the first time the Center will be bringing its internationally recognized media seminars to the country, which has recently relaxed its former strict government censorship of the press.
In June, the Center will bring its distinguished Jefferson Fellowships program for Asia Pacific and U.S. journalists to Burma’s main city of Yangon as part of their study tour focusing on leadership changes in Asia Pacific. The journalists will have an opportunity to engage with Yangon's emerging media sector and – in another first for the fellowship – help provide professional training and regional perspectives to local journalists.
And in 2014, EWC is planning to conduct the next of its highly successful biennial international media conferences in Yangon. Previous conferences in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Seoul have drawn hundreds of journalists and high-level speakers from dozens of nations to discuss key regional news and media topics.
“It’s a powerful indicator of the change that has been occurring in Burma that the East-West Center is for the first time able to take international journalists there as part of our media seminars program,” said EWC President Charles E. Morrison. “We are looking forward to facilitating mutually beneficial exchanges between Burmese and international journalists.”
A major focus of the conference in Yangon will be on the challenges and importance of building professional media in developing nations, and the meeting will include media skills workshops geared specifically for journalists from Burma and other developing nations. EWC Media Program Manager Susan Kreifels said that during a recent visit to Burma "both the government and media organizations expressed strong interest in helping build professional media capacity in their country through journalism training and content study programs.”
Although this is the first time EWC has been able to conduct media programs inside Burma, a number of leading journalists from the country have previously participated in Center media programs held elsewhere. In addition, the Center has maintained longstanding educational and research ties with the country. Around 170 EWC award recipients from Burma have participated in Center scholarships and programs over the years, and graduates have long maintained an East-West Center Association alumni chapter in Yangon. For more information on East-West Center media exchange programs, visit http://EastWestCenter.org/journalismfellowships.