Funding for Myanmar Project
MF has received funding for a cooperation project with Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT).
NORPARTs main goal is to strengthen quality in Higher Education in Norway and development countries through cooperation within education and mutual student mobility.
Myanmar Institute of Theology (MiT) Insein Township, Yangon.
Vidar L. Haanes
Kjell Magne Bondevik
(Photo: Oslo Peace Centre)
An important project goal is to strengthen the cooperation between Myanmar and Norway, as well as to widen MF’s competency on religion in Asia. The long term cooperation will furthermore contribute to strengthening the fields of theology and religious studies in Myanmar.
– MF is proud of receiving funding for this project through NORPART as we competed against many other highly qualified academic institutions, says MF Rector, Vidar L. Haanes.
Higher academic level
During a five year period, MF and MiT will facilitate an exchange programme for both master’s and PhD students.
– We are aiming to raise the academic level at both institutions. This will happen through close cooperation and exchange of both students and researchers, says Iselin Frydenlund.
Frydenlund is Postdoctoral Fellow at MF and Academic Advisor for the project. Frydenlund pictures the opportunity for mutual exchange between Myanmar and Norway as unique.
Bjørn Lyngroth, International Advisor at MF and member of the project steering committee, agrees that the cooperation will have an important positive impact on MF’s student and research environment.
– Each year a group of students, both master’s and PhD, will come from Myanmar to complete part of their studies at MF. Likewise, MF students will now be offered the possibility to take courses at MiT. We look forward to starting this new project cooperation with MIT and are excited to see the positive synergy effects that might come out of it, says Lyngroth
Knowledge and dialogue
Due to rising levels of religious nationalism and increasing intra-religious tensions, one important goal for the project is to strengthen academic knowledge of religion in the country.
– Knowledge is crucial for work with dialogue and peace, and we hope this project will contribute to peace building in Myanmar. In this respect we are very satisfied that the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University (ITBMU) is a partner in the project as well. We hope that this will have a very positive impact for the project, says Haanes.
MF’s cooperation with MIT and ITBMU is seen as important both in an academic sense and as a contribution to the dialogue between religions in Myanmar.
– An indirect contribution to peace
Kjell Magne Bondevik, President of the Oslo Centre and former Prime Minister in Norway, has recently met with Foreign Minister and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. He congratulates MF with the new project:
– Despite the many positive political and economic changes now taking place in Myanmar, the intra-communal tensions and armed conflicts pose great challenges to the country. Peace-building is complicated and requires intra-religious and intra-ethnic dialogue and co-operation. If the MF-led project contributes in that regard, it would be a great achievement, Bondevik writes.