||Asean Affairs 11 July 2013
50 Norway-supported Myanmar students begin life at AIT
Fifty new Master’s students from Myanmar supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) began their two-year scholastic journey at the Asian Institute of Technology with a special Orientation Ceremony on 1 July 2013.
The following day, the large group began a six-week intensive English-language Bridging Program conducted by the AIT Language Center, in advance of resuming their core studies in mid-August.
The young scholars form the second contingent of the 3-year Norwegian MFA (NMFA) Scholarship Program launched last year. They join forty current students from Myanmar already attending AIT under the scholarship program.
Newly arrived in Thailand, the students were warmly welcomed to AIT by the new Interim President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai; new Acting Dean of the School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) Prof. Chettiyappan Visvanathan; new Acting Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology (SET) Dr. Nitin Kumar Tripathi and Mr. Erik Svedahl, Minister Counsellor of the Norwegian Embassy, Bangkok.
“Your country needs you, your skills and expertise. You are the future,” Mr. Svedahl told the Myanmar group, greeting the students in their own language and later meeting with them individually and as a group.
AIT External Relations and Communications Office (ERCO) Head Mr. Ahmed Amjad Ali moderated the welcome event. Language Center Senior Language Specialist Mr. Tylor Burrows introduced details of the Bridging Program.
Noting that only 1 in 15 of the original 750 scholarship applicants in Myanmar earned entry to AIT through the program provided by the Government of Norway, President Worsak complimented the final selectees for being amongst the best of their peers. “You are all very special students,” he said.
The president thanked the Government of Norway for its generosity, Mr. Erik Svedahl for his particular commitment to AIT, and everyone involved in the process to make the program a success.
President Worsak invited the newcomers to participate in the special international spirit of the campus, and to make best use of their studies and experiences to one day return home and benefit their country. “This generous program provided by the Government of Norway is designed to improve the professional capacity and human resources of your country,” he emphasized.
Mr. Svedahl expressed his pleasure that a large number of the NMFA scholars were from various ethnic groups in Myanmar and that so many of the students were female. Of the fifty scholars, 33 are women and 17 are men.
The senior diplomat emphasized that Norway is a strong friend of Myanmar, and a keen supporter of its reform process and peaceful development. “We want you to go back to Myanmar after graduation to build a modern society in your country,” he told the students.
Later, throughout the week, the NMFA scholars were already spotted navigating the campus in small groups and confidently approaching bystanders as they completed English-focused assignments for their Bridging Program classes. After one week, the newly-enrolled students were already well on their way to an enriching life and academic career at AIT.