Oak Fellows-2013_JLB7476In the fall of 2013, the Oak Institute welcomed 2013 Oak Fellows Maung Maung Than and Mya Nandar Aung of Myanmar to campus.

Maung Maung Than and Mya Nandar Aung have worked with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees to protect the rights of stateless people in western Myanmar, and are working with various organizations to encourage Buddhist-Muslim reconciliation. The state of Rakhine in western Myanmar has a history of tension between Buddhists and Muslims, many of whom are not officially recognized as citizens of Myanmar. One marginalized group, the Rohingya, faces a wide variety of human rights abuses, including extortion, forced eviction, destruction of property, forced labor, and restrictions on their freedom of movement. The fellows understand both sides of the conflict in Rakhine, as one fellow identifies as Muslim, while the other was born to a Muslim father and a Buddhist mother. Despite their different upbringings, both Maung Maung Than and Myanandar Aung work to protect the rights of local peoples and improve their living conditions through monitoring and reporting abuses and educating community members about universal human rights.