UBC Myanmar Initiative

Supporting Researchers and Democratization in Myanmar Since 2017

UBC Myanmar Intitiative

The Program

The UBC Myanmar Initiative has supported researchers and democratization in Myanmar since 2017. It is enabled by generous support from IDRC’s Knowledge for Democracy Myanmar (K4DM) initiative.


The UBC Myanmar Initiative’s core mandate is to support the emerging generation of researchers working towards democratization in and on Myanmar. Towards that end, it has organized numerous training programs with partners in Myanmar.

  • In 2017, 2018, and 2019, the initiative led a three-week intensive training program at the Yangon University of Economics, taught primarily by UBC faculty.
  • Amidst the pandemic in 2021, it is providing an innovative online training program for 22 researchers in Myanmar from universities and civil society organizations. The training comprises ten modules that address critical issues facing Myanmar, and is taught by leading experts from UBC and around the world. Further information is available here


The UBC Myanmar Initiative has also supported research on democratization in Myanmar through three types of fellowships.

  • First, the participants of the 2021 training program have received support for their engagement and research. Read about some of the UBC Training Program Fellows here.
  • Second, leading young researchers at the PhD and Post-Doctoral levels based outside of Myanmar have received support for their research on topics including democratization, peace building, and federalism in Myanmar. Find the profiles of these UBC Myanmar Fellows here.
  • Finally, several exceptional Myanmar-based graduate students were brought to UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs to complete a semester in the MPPGA program as Visiting Fellows. Profiles of the visiting fellows are here.

"The program's core mandate is to support the emerging generation of researchers working towards democratization in and on Myanmar."

UBC Myanmar Intitiative


The initiative has also directly funded and produced original research on development and democratization in Myanmar. This includes Issue #31 of the Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, which contains five articles on aspects of democratization and the coup in Myanmar, and will be published as a book by Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies (KSEAS). Notably, the Issue is Open Access and was translated into Burmese, Japanese, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, and Vietnamese, making it highly accessible to researchers across Asia.

Other research projects published in outlets including the East Asia Forum (for example this piece by Nyi Nyi Kyaw) have been enabled by support from the initiative. Finally, the initiative supports the Inya Economic Journal, an independent Yangon-based journal that publishes research on sustainable development in Myanmar. This support includes providing the IEJ editorial team with access to academic publications from Singapore's ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia: Issue 31 – Myanmar’s Transition Stalled: From Opening to Coup. Published by CSEAS, Kyoto University

The initiative also coordinated a Myanmar mini-conference at the 2021 biennial meeting of the Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies (CCSEAS). That comprised over ten panels and roundtable discussions that brought together leading scholars of Myanmar (including over a dozen young Burmese researchers) to exchange research insights and practical concerns around continuing constructive engagement with researchers in Myanmar during the coup. It also featured a keynote address by Professor Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung (University of Massachusetts) entitled “Academic Research in Post-coup Myanmar: Challenges in Ethics, Values, Safety, and Best Practices”.

Event flyer: Lecturer: Ardeth Maung Thawnghmung, University of Massachusetts Lowell, October 21, 2021
Inya Economic Journal. Inya Economics is an independent research organization,<br />emphasizing Myanmar policy for economic development and academic progress.
Inya Economic Journal. Inya Economics is an independent research organization,
emphasizing Myanmar policy for economic development and academic progress.

Quotes from Past Participants

As for me, the most distinct features is the teaching technique, it is very impressive and productive. And I can sense the teaching method of UBC from the course. Overall, the course is very productive"

Quotes from Past Participants

It is very useful both for my work and academic research. The whole course is very valuable for me. I enjoyed all lessons.”

Quotes from Past Participants

“Identifying variables and thinking about their relationships is the most important thing when it comes to data, meaning analysis of the data. Regression analysis is the new concept for me and it's very helpful for me to gain some basic knowledge on that. With that knowledge together with some further studies can help me analyse existing data.”

Quotes from Past Participants

“I could apply both quantitative and qualitative methods which I'm preparing the research design, setting the questionnaires, and interpreting, generating, [analyzing] quality of data.” 

Quotes from Past Participants

 “I haven't had any experience with regression analysis and calculating statistics. This training helped me to study further about data-reading which is important for my work as well as my interests.”


Quotes from Past Participants

“The course is very interesting. I'm so glad to learn the new concept related to data analysis that is very helpful for my future work. Theories together with exercises are very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing!“

UBC Myanmar Program event photo
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