Young people in Myanmar understand the challenges facing their country but lack institutions that bring them together to address these challenges. They need institutions that nurture and support them in their civic mission.
In recent years, Myanmar has seen the launch of a number of educational initiatives. Several new vocational and professional schools now offer business, management, and medical degrees. What is lacking, however, is an institution designed to provide a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences. Liberal education better prepares students for solving complex problems than any specialized program. Through interdisciplinary study in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities, graduates become ready to take on the dynamic nature of the modern workplace, which demands critical thinking, interdisciplinary analysis, and articulate communication.
In order to address this educational gap, we founded Parami Institute — a not-for-profit, liberal arts and sciences academy for recent university graduates and working professionals. We believe that a liberal arts and sciences education — with its broad-based curriculum and emphasis on experiential learning — teaches students to respond to complex, modern-day problems in an innovative and interdisciplinary manner. Our main program at the institute is the Parami Leadership Program (PLP), in which we select 16 to 17 promising recent university graduates to study courses in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts. We also engage the wider community through adult evening classes and free public events.
From its inception, Parami has been in partnership with two distinguished liberal arts and sciences colleges in the United States—Bard College in New York and Centre College in Kentucky. Bard’s commitment to Parami has been particularly strong; President Leon Botstein has committed to issuing Parami Baccalaureate graduates dual degrees with Bard.