8 P1030212

Myanmar Foresters

Between 1958 and 1994 there was a flow of Burmese to Australia to study forestry. Supported first by Burmese State Scholarships,  the Colombo Plan and other aid from Australia later helped many of these men financially, but when sanctions were imposed to encourage a return to democracy in Myanmar, scholarships dried up and there was a period of nearly two decades when no Myanmar came to study forestry.  Now however they are coming again, supported by Ausaid and similar scholarships. The difference is that most of them are enrolled for post-graduate qualifications, rather than as undergraduates. What a lot of courage and as well as enterprise it must have taken for them, particularly those earlier arrivals, to leave their families, often including their wives and young children, to come to such a far-flung place as Australia, speaking a foreign language, and having quite different climate and customs, not to mention very different food!

Kim Wells (AFS 1956-57) and a Myanmar forester, Prof. Aung Kyaw Myint (ANU 1980-81), have written a short note- Myanmar Foresters in Australia -that records Myanmar who have studied at various tertiary institutions here.  Brief notes on each show the important roles these men and, lately, women have played and are playing in their own country.

You may also like to read a short article 'Golden Myanmar' written after a reception in Yangon attended by 14 of these foresters. The article can be viewed in the February 2015 edition of The Forester on page 17, and another ‘Burmese Foresters are Coming to Australia Again’ in the February 2017 edition of The Forester on page 19. Recently some short self-written biographies, together with photographs obtained at the Yangon reception were combined within a ‘Growing Stock’ cover and lodged afresh in the ANU archives with class notes from the AFS Reunion 2000. This and the Myanmar Foresters in Australia booklet constitute items 32 and 33 in ANUA 81: http://archivescollection.anu.edu.au/index.php/papers-1949.

If you’d like to get in touch with any of these Myanmar foresters, there are some contact details in the articles listed here, otherwise enquire of Wells or Myint.