Remarks as prepared for Ambassador Scot Marciel at the launch of the USAID Lincoln Scholarship Program, Novotel Hotel

Remarks as prepared for Ambassador Scot Marciel at the launch of the USAID Lincoln Scholarship Program, Novotel Hotel, November 26, 2019

Having been in Myanmar for three and a half years, I have met hundreds of inspiring people around the country, each one working hard to build a better future for their communities and country.  So many young leaders here are innovating and dedicated to finding ways to make this country and the world a better place.

We want to see Myanmar succeed.  That’s why we are announcing this new scholarship opportunity today.  The U.S. Government is proud to offer about 100 Lincoln Scholarships to future leaders of Myanmar through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Lincoln Scholarship Program.

The Lincoln Scholars will earn graduate degrees in the United States to develop technical skills that will accelerate Myanmar’s development.  The United States offers many graduate degree programs that are not yet available in Myanmar’s universities.  Equipping Myanmar’s future leaders with degrees in fields of study such as food and nutrition science, natural resources management and environmental studies, business, economics, and finance will ensure Myanmar has the technical capacity in its government, private sector and civil society to lead the people through the increasingly complex issues of the 21st century.

I want to take a moment to explain why we chose to name these scholarships after President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.  He was born into a poor family in the state of Kentucky, far from the seats of power in Washington, DC and New York.  Yet, despite his humble background, Abraham Lincoln went on to become a lawyer and a political leader.  He led our country through the American Civil War.  These were dark times, but Lincoln saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

I have seen much of that same spirit among people here in Myanmar.

This coming year, 20 scholars will form the first of three cohorts of Lincoln Scholars to pursue master’s degrees in the United States over the next five years.

This scholarship program also includes a dedicated leadership training component for each of the Lincoln Scholars.  During their time in the United States, each cohort will come together at George Mason University to focus on leadership skills and conflict resolution as they prepare to lead Myanmar towards lasting peace and national unity.  The application period will open on December 2, 2019.

Thanks to the Institute of International Education (IIE) and its Myanmar partner, the Thabyay Education Foundation for all their ongoing efforts to implement this program.

I encourage all of you to spread the word and share what you learn about the scholarship opportunities today with young leaders.

Now I want to turn to our guest, U Bo Bo Nge, deputy governor of Myanmar’s Central Bank.  He joins us today because the degree he earned in the United States equipped him to serve his country.  Bo Bo Nge earned a master’s degree in international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.