Chin Students Met US Department of State Official
May 4, 2007—Washington DC: Chin Student leaders on Friday met with Aaron Cope, Burma Desk Officer of US Department of State at his office in Washington DC. Students held a historic meeting with the Office of Mainland Southeast Asia as they introduce a Chin student body in North America while updating Human Rights situation in Burma.
Leaders of Chin Student Union of North America (CSUNA) urge the US government to maintain its position on Burma while thanking the US government for its consistent support to Burma’s democracy movement. In their meeting, Chin students cover wide range of issues, mainly stressing the needs for America to continue investing in further education of students from Burma, supporting and bringing Burmese refugees to US, and pressuring the needs for US to continuously lead the international community to support the emergence of tripartite dialogue which has been consistently advocated by the United Nations since 1994.
While asking about the purpose of their meeting, Salai Za Ceu Lian, president of CSUNA says, “while introducing our student Union to US Department of State, we are also requesting them to continuously support education for students from Burma either through bringing students from Burma to study in US or supporting programs which would prepare students from Burma educationally. We are impressed by the fact that Burma Desk officer assured us that America will continuously invest in the education of Burmese students with the views of preparing them for rebuilding future democratic Burma. He also assured us the United Sates will consistently push for democracy in Burma.”
The students also thanked for establishing and continuing the US Department of State Burmese Refugee Scholarship Programs as well as for allowing Chin refugees resettled in United States. About 150 Chin students are currently studying at Colleges and Universities across Canada and USA.
“Most of these students got a chance to study here only because the US DOS Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration’s work,” says Salai Elaisa Vahnie. “We have requested them to continue and even increase funding for Burmese refugees scholarships as well as to allow a greater number of Chin refugees to resettle from India, Malaysia, and Thailand.” The officer has indicated that they will continue to provide any form of assistance to Burmese refugee students, and possibly to students inside Burma as well while more refugees also will be resettled,” he says.
The meeting took place as the CSUNA is preparing to hold its first general conference in August 2007 in Washington DC.
The office told the student leaders about its commitment with respect to educational investment for Burmese people which could best guarantees future Burma.
This meeting is part of an efforts made by CSUNA to promote education among Chin and Burmese people. The Union was formed in 2006 in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A by ethnic Chin students from Burma studying at various colleges and Universities across U.S.A and Canada.