My name is Khun Naung. I am originally from Karenni State and grew up in a Karenni Refugee Camp on the Thai/Myanmar border. I resettled to the United States of America in 2011 and graduated from Indiana University in 2016, majoring in International Studies at the School of Global and International Studies (SGIS) and minoring in Non-Profit Management at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).
I returned to Thailand to work for the Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN), a negotiation body of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), a coalition of armed groups in Myanmar. After being promoted to the position of Office Coordinator, my main responsibilities were to supervise staff, organize meetings with the Myanmar government as well as ethnic armed groups’ leaders, manage documentation related to these meetings, and liaise with the Myanmar government and Thai authorities as necessary.
Currently, I am working with the Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Center (ENAC) as a Peace Negotiation Consultant. My responsibilities include organizing meetings, managing logistics and office administration, liaising between government authorities in Myanmar, and compiling reports for every meeting.
Nearly four years of working with DPN and six months with ENAC taught me to understand the importance of good governance and public administration when working with different levels of government authorities, as well as within our own organizations.
Myanmar is a developing country with many needs in different sectors. I plan to use the knowledge and skills gained from my master’s program to improve the country’s development process, especially the peace process which is a public administration issue in the country. A master’s degree in public administration will not only provide me with better career opportunities but also allow me to contribute to Myanmar’s peace and development processes more effectively.
About Khun Naung
- Age: 39
- Ethnicity: Karenni
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- National Institute of Development Administration
- Master’s, Public Administration
- 2nd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a negotiation consultant
- Become a philanthropist
- Loan Amount: $6,100
- Amount Left To Fund: $6,000
- Contract Duration: 13 years
- Status: In School
Khun Naung, in his own words
My short-term career goal is to work in the management of non-profit organizations supporting the peace process. As I am currently working closely with ethnic armed groups and government authorities on the nationwide ceasefire process, I would like to contribute more effectively with new skills and knowledge gained from my master’s program. My long-term goal is to work closely with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), especially those in Karenni State.
CSOs and CBOs play an important role in the development process of a country, particularly in the promotion of democracy and good governance. Since Myanmar is still developing, CSOs and CBOs need more support to foster better organizational skills and policy strategies, and I intend to support them as an independent worker.
Karenni State is a tiny state with one of the smallest populations in Myanmar, and there is a lack of human resources in many sectors. Although I am now an American, I believe that I can still fulfill my dreams by using my skills and knowledge to benefit my country of origin.
Because public administration is important for the management of organizations and government policies which can support the development of a country and improve public welfare, I would like to learn more about public administration and earn a master’s degree. From my experiences with different government authorities and ethnic armed groups, I have learned the importance of having professional skills in public administration.
After examining the program objectives of the Master of Public Administration from the National Institute for Development Administration (NIDA) in Bangkok, I understand that I need additional professional skills to work more effectively with organizations and for Myanmar in the future. Learning professional management at an advanced level will sharpen my knowledge and improve the quality of my work.
Leadership skills are important to my future, and I believe I can improve my skills at NIDA and apply them in my future carrier. The Master of Public Administration program involved different core subjects such as organization and management, public policy and strategic management, and non-profit organization management. Studying these subjects will give me the professional skills and advance knowledge I need.
As I have a relevant educational background involving international studies and non-profit management—along with work experience related to administration and organization management—I am confident that I will be able to perform well academically and successfully complete the Master of Public Administration Program at NIDA. The program will benefit both me personally and the communities I work with. In the near future, I am confident that I will be able to apply the knowledge and skills I gain from NIDA to my community in Karenni State and Burma as a whole.
Written by Khun Naung with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“Myanmar is a developing country with many needs in different sectors. I plan to use the knowledge and skills gained from my master’s program to improve the country’s development process, especially the peace process…”