Meridian Convenes Key Stakeholders and Delegation of Women Leaders from Burma

On Wednesday, February 6, 2013, Meridian International Center hosted a small, off-the-record roundtable discussion with a women’s leadership delegation from Burma. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women hosted the delegation’s visit to the U.S. in partnership with The George W. Bush Institute, The McCain Institute, and Meridian. The delegation is led by Ms. Zin Mar Aung, a former political prisoner for 11 years and winner of the International Women of Courage Award presented by the U.S. Department of State for her role in promoting the role of women in politics, leading the efforts of several NGOs to promote this work, and helping secure a democratic future in Burma. Also included in the delegation are three civil society leaders from Burma visiting the U.S. on a capacity building and study tour focused on the intersection between political reform and economic growth. Members of the delegation include Ms. Ma Nilar OO, Former Deputy Director, Operations & External Relations, International Rescue Committee; Ms. “Khin Lay” Khin Than Myint, Co-Founder, Triangle Women Support Group; and Ms. Shunn Lei Swe YEE, Co-Founder, Pandita Development Institute.

The February 6th roundtable discussion was Co-Chaired by Meridian’s President and CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Ambassador Melanne Verveer. The roundtable brought together members of the delegation with several nongovernmental organizations which focus on women’s issues to discuss economic and gender empowerment, along with women’s leadership more generally. Participating organizations included the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), United Nations Foundation (UNF), Vital Voices, and Women Thrive Worldwide. Michele Manatt participated in the discussion, representing Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership.

The conversation also focused heavily on economic opportunity, with key international financial institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in attendance, as well as representatives from Accion, GlobalGiving, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the private sector, including Coca-Cola and Caterpillar, to discuss options for expanding economic opportunity in an emerging country context. While part of the delegation’s purpose during their visit to the U.S. is to brief the various stakeholders about current political and economic issues in Burma, another important aspect is the group’s expanded access to the information, tools, and resources which are critical to the success of their own professions and communities.

Project summary

Meridian Convenes Key Stakeholders and Delegation of Women Leaders from Burma | February 2013
Number of Visitors: 4
Regions: East Asia and Pacific
Countries: Burma
Impact Areas: Empowering Women and Girls, Entrepreneurship, Human and Civil Rights
Program Areas: Exchanges, Convening
Partners: Private Sector, NGOs, Public Sector