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City hosts session on Burma strategy

– As many as 200 Burmese activists from around the world will take part in a political conference this weekend at IPFW.

The International 88 Generation Conference will discuss ways to encourage further democratic reforms in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma.

The conference coincides with the upcoming 25th anniversary of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar that began Aug. 8, 1988. The 8888 Uprising launched the political career of Aung San Suu Kyi, who would become a prisoner of her nation’s ruling military, receive the Nobel Peace Prize and win election last year to a seat in the country’s fledgling parliament.

Suu Kyi came to Fort Wayne and spoke at Memorial Coliseum in September.

In a news release, the conference convening committee said that the “military dominance in politics remains essentially unchanged” in Myanmar.

“It is high time to bring meaningful democratic transition and peace to make the country reclaim its glory in the region,” it adds.

Among the conference objectives is improving collaborations among Burmese around the world to promote democracy in Myanmar, the news release said.

Nyein Chan, a local member of the convening committee, said Wednesday that conference participants have begun arriving from Myanmar, Australia, Great Britain and Canada. He said he expects between 150 and 200 people to take part.

Fort Wayne is home to thousands of Burmese refugees. The local Burmese community is among the largest in the United States.

The International 88 Generation Conference will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in a large lecture hall at IPFW’s Liberal Arts Building. The event is co-sponsored by the IPFW Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the university’s Office of International Education.

A reception for participants is planned for today at IPFW.