The University of Yangon was set up in 1848 and is the most well-known university in Myanmar. A centre of the student movement in Myanmar, it was a stronghold of student protests against the government in 1988 and 1996. Due to its history of political mobilization, the University’s bachelor’s programs were discontinued in 1996. Only recently, in 2014, did the university reopen its doors to undergraduate students.
This may explain the tremendous turnout of students who came to learn about the UCRSEA project, including its conceptual framework and scholarship programs. The auditorium hall was packed with students who showed great interest in understanding how urbanization and climate change come together to create a host of vulnerabilities for rapidly urbanizing areas in Asia.
Students and professors asked questions ranging from climate change impacts and health, urbanization and peri-urban development, and even more philosophical questions about materialism and what constitutes the good life in urban settings. Asking these questions are fundamental to understanding how urbanization creates new sets of vulnerabilities to climate change impacts as well as avenues to build resilience.
Particular attention was focused on the UCRSEA’s scholarship program. Five scholarships are available for graduate students from project partner countries.
Applications for masters and PhD scholarships are due on 31 July 2015.
The University of Yangon presentation represents an initial dialogue between researchers, students, universities and organizations from Canada and partnering countries in Southeast Asia. By establishing partnerships between university students and faculty in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Canada, UCRSEA aims to catalyze research and build capacities to begin to understand the complexity of urban vulnerability and resilience to climate change.
Taylor Martin is an intern with the UCRSEA Partnership in 2015. She participated in the UCRSEA event at the University of Yangon in Yangon, Myanmar on 17 June 2015.