Forty-seven young scholars who are participating in the Burmese American Community Institute’s Upward College Summer Scholars Program toured Washington, D.C. from July 18-20. The trip is designed to introduce the young scholars to the national level policy processes, American democratic institutions and its rich history.
During the trip, the scholars met with the national security team of U.S. Senator Todd Young, officials of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“By having the opportunity to interact with leaders and policy makers, our hope is that the students will be better informed, inspired and motivated to achieve academic excellence, their leadership potential and continued success,” said Mr. Elaisa Vahnie, Executive Director of BACI.
“These young stars are not only productive citizens of the society, but they are already assuming leadership responsibilities in our local communities, and serving as agents of change in the society, while promoting stronger ties between the U.S. and Myanmar toward a win-win in the long-run,” said Mr. Vahnie, who directs the PAR policy research.
The interactive meetings with the congressional offices and federal agencies emphasized the legislative and policymaking processes, national security and international affairs through the 3Ds (development, diplomacy and defense) and how local issues are interconnected with the global happenings around the world. The engagement also underscored the U.S. policy toward Myanmar and U.S. assistance to the people of the Southeast Asian nation.
“We are privileged to have this opportunity at a young age to meet the leaders and high-ranking officers of the U.S. federal government in-person. I hope every one of us make sure we make the most of it,” said Van Sui, BACI intern, who also interned with the office of Senator Todd Young and is currently attending Taylor University.
The visitors thanked the staffers and officials of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government for their leadership and the support they have been providing, not only to the Burmese-American communities, but also for the assistance they are giving for peace, democracy and development in Myanmar.