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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Carol Myint
Office of International Programs

Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Exiled Burmese prime minister to visit IUB this weekend

JULY 27, 2005

EDITORS: Media interested in interviewing Sein Win on Friday (July 29) are asked to contact Ryan Piurek, IU Media Relations, at 812-855-5393 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Sein Win, the prime minister in exile of Burma, will visit Indiana University Bloomington from Friday to Sunday (July 29-31). He will deliver a public lecture on Sunday (July 31) from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. at the Leo R. Dowling International Center, which is located at 111 S. Jordan Ave. in Bloomington. Win's visit is being hosted by IU's Office of International Programs and the Center for International Education and Development Assistance.

Sein Win, prime minister in exile of Burma

Print-Quality Photo

Win was elected prime minister of Burma in December 1990, following the formation of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma. Pro-democracy forces established the NCGUB after Burma's military junta refused to honor the results of the 1990 elections -- in which the National League for Democracy won a resounding victory -- and forced many elected officials to flee the country for fear of arrest and possible torture. NLD General Secretary and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest.

The NCGUB seeks to restore democracy and human rights to Burma, a former British colony that has been under army rule since a 1962 coup.

Burma has made major news headlines in recent days. Yesterday (July 26), the nation's rulers agreed to cede its scheduled chairmanship of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations next year, avoiding a Western boycott of the group's meetings. The United States and the European Union had demanded that Burma move toward political reform and release Suu Kyi or forfeit its turn at the rotating chairmanship.

Additionally, the U.S. Senate last week overwhelmingly approved, 97-1, the extension of economic sanctions against Burma's military junta. The measure, which the House of Representatives passed last month, now goes to President Bush for his signature.

The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, which bans the import of Burmese products to the United States, was first passed by Congress in 2003 after the military junta refused to participate in talks with Burma's democracy movement. Instead, the regime jailed Suu Kyi and killed dozens of her supporters in a nighttime massacre near the Burmese town of Depayin.

Win, who is currently based in Washington, D.C., received his doctorate degree in mathematics from Hamburg University in Germany and taught at Rangoon University in Burma before becoming involved in politics.

Win's visit coincides with CIEDA's annual Burmese Refugee Scholarship Program Alumni Meeting, July 29-31, at IU. The BRSP is funded through the U.S. Department of State. IU has been affiliated with the BRSP for 10 years and has a long history of support for pro-democracy Burmese activists, bringing 45 Burmese students to the United States for further studies. "We are honored to be involved in a future democratic Burma. We hope that we are able to contribute to the transition to democracy for Burma," said Patrick O'Meara, dean of International Programs for IU.

For further details of the meeting, contact Carol Myint at 812-855-3948 or