Remarks as prepared for Pamela Fessenden for Lincoln Scholars Pre-departure Press Briefing

Remarks as prepared for Pamela Fessenden for Lincoln Scholars Pre-departure Press Briefing

Thursday, August 13, 2020, 2:00 pm

First, I want to congratulate the Lincoln Scholars once again and wish you the best of luck as you embark on your graduate studies in the United States. Each of you was selected from among hundreds of applicants in a competitive process based on your experience and your commitment to giving back to Myanmar. As part of our commitment to Myanmar, the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, has invested in the Lincoln Scholarship program to support the people of this country as you pursue inclusive democratic and economic transformation.

We are confident the 100 Lincoln Scholars we will be supporting over the next five years will help lead Myanmar on its journey to becoming a unified and peaceful nation, protecting its natural resources and providing opportunities for all to participate and thrive.

The U.S. government, through USAID, invests more than $150 million a year to assist the people of Myanmar to improve their health, nutrition, agriculture and livelihoods; to mitigate suffering through humanitarian assistance; to make access to finance more inclusive; to ensure reliable sources of news and information are accessible to everyone; and to strengthen civil society and democratic institutions such as the Parliament, the Union Election Commissions, and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

By investing in the Lincoln Scholarship Program, USAID is investing in developing a long-term capacity in Myanmar to design and implement its own solutions to its development challenges.

I also want to thank the organizations involved in making this scholarship program possible. Thanks to the Institute of International Education, IIE, which has helped to match these Lincoln Scholars with master’s degree programs at U.S. universities that will provide knowledge and skills that are critical to Myanmar’s development.

Thanks to the Thabyay Education Foundation for undertaking an extensive recruitment process in so many of the states and regions of Myanmar. The Lincoln Scholars will demonstrate the richness and the strength of Myanmar’s diversity.

Thanks to IIE’s partner, the George Mason University, in the United States. The Lincoln Scholars will participate in additional courses in leadership and conflict resolution at George Mason University. We hope that these additional courses, plus the time that the Lincoln Scholars spend together, forming relationships with each other, will also help them better serve their country upon their return to Myanmar.