‘Union Day of Burma’ Event in US to Promote Ethnic Harmony, Unity and Support Democratic Transition
INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 8, 2018 — Myanmar communities in Indianapolis will observe the 71st Anniversary of Union Day, honoring the signing of the Panglong Agreement on Feb 12, 1947, a historic meeting after World War II forming Union of Burma, with equal rights and privileges guaranteed to all ethnic groups in the country. The event will be held at the University of Indianapolis on Monday, Feb. 12 from 6-9 p.m.
His Excellency U Aung Lynn, Myanmar Ambassador to the U.S., will speak at the event designed to promote unity among Myanmar ethnic groups, newcomer integration into U.S. society, strengthening U.S.-Myanmar ties, and supporting peace and democratic reforms in Myanmar. Prior to his appointment in July 2016 by Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw, Lynn served as the permanent secretary of Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, since 2011, as director-general of the ministry’s ASEAN Affairs Department. Lynn is Myanmar’s first career diplomat to represent an elected government in more than 50 years as Ambassador to the United States.Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett will give remarks at the ceremony. Hogsett has reassured the Burmese-American community in Indianapolis that the city will strive to be a welcoming and inclusive place to live for all residents.
The meeting of the British and several ethnic groups in the town of Panglong after World War II led to independence for the former colony and the creation of the Union of Burma. Union Day is widely viewed by major ethnic groups of Myanmar as a day of unity based on the principles of federalist democracy and equality.
The Indianapolis event provides an opportunity for the Myanmar diaspora in the U.S. and their American friends to engage and show support for the newly established government’s National Reconciliation Process, part of which is the 21st Century Panglong Conference that began in Myanmar in August 2016. Set for a third meeting in 2018, the conference aims to reach a nationwide ceasefire agreement between the military and ethnic armed organizations, initiate a framework for political dialogue, and undertake constitutional and institutional reforms for a country that has been ravaged by civil war and poverty for more than half a century.
“At this special occasion, we reiterate our call on all parties concerned in the country to fully recognize and implement the nine-point democratic principles and spirits expressed in the Panglong Agreement,” said Elaisa Vahnie, Burmese American Community Institute Director. “Trusting each other and full participation in the peace process led by Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is essentially required to reach the aspired and the common political goal of Myanmar.
“This is not an easy path, Myanmar is facing incredible amount of challenges, compounded by the unfortunate events of the ongoing Rakhaine crisis and continuing armed conflicts in many parts of the country. These challenges can be overcome by beginning consistent applications of the democratic principles at all levels, serious, sincere, comprehensive and inclusive engagement with all the stakeholders in the process with the support of the international community,” he said.
A strong supporter of democratic transition and economic development in the Southeast Asian nation, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, who also serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, will video address the gathering.
The event will feature speeches, ethnic dances, fashion, music and food representing ethnic groups of Myanmar. All performances and activities will take place in the university’s Ransburg Auditorium, 1400 E. Hanna Ave. in Indianapolis. The celebration is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact Burmese American Community Institute at 317.731.5537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lian Sang, Programs Director
Burmese American Community Institute