From January 31 to February 5 2015, students from the Masters of Social studies (MIS) conducted a field study to the United Republic of Myanmar as part of Southeast Asian studies, a core subject in the Internasional Relations Major.
Myanmar was the chosen destination due to its uniqueness and its long history of democratization. Besides, the country has only opened itself to the outside worlds in recent years, after having been isolated during the military leadership from 1962 until 2011. It is hoped that through this visit, students may better comprehend the government’s efforts to re-organize its country, including the implementation of government and foreign policies. As fellow members of ASEAN, Indonesia and Myanmar need to arrive at a better understanding which could only be achieved through more frequent contact between their respective citizens. Especially taking into account that this year, ASEAN becomes the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
During the visit to the University of Yangon (UY), Dr. Sukawarsini Djelantik presented the research and community programs of the MIS to the academic society. By keeping in mind that both countries are members of ASEAN at a development stage, new research potential for development and execution were also introduced. The existence of Kemitraan Negara Berkembang (The Developing Country Partnership) program (KNB) also received a great deal of attention from UY students. The visiting entourage also visited and conducted discussions with leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the political party lead by the peace nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. A further visit included a discussion with principals and teachers of the Indonesian International school in Yangon.
As a country with a long history of civilization, Myanmar has numerous cultural heritage sites, such as the golden palace of Kambawzathardi in Bago city, and the very prominent Shewdagon Pagoda in Yangon. The entourage also had the opportunity to visit Nay Phi Taw, the new capitol of Myanmar, which took 10 hours on the return trip from Yangon. The Field Study program’s success could also be attributed to the full cooperation of the KBRI (Indonesian Embassy) Yangon and the full support from Ambassador Dr. Ito Sumardi in providing various facilities and perks.