Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar arrive by wooden boats under the cover of darkness on the beach of Shah Porir Dwip, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold

How to Promote Tolerance in Myanmar, a Country that Recently Experienced a Genocide

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya muslims were driven from their homes in Myanmar. At the time, a UN official called this a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” And today, the government of Myanmar is being sued at the International Court of Justice for perpetrating a genocide.

These attacks against the Rohingya are the most recent and extreme example of sectarian violence and discrimination in Myanmar — which is an incredibly diverse country with a long history of ethnic conflict.

So how does one stop this trend? How do you promote tolerance and pluralism in a place in which diversity has been used to fuel conflict?  On the line with me today is someone who is doing just that.

Aung Kyaw Moe is the founder and executive director of the Center for Social Integrity in Myanmar. This is an organization that provides both humanitarian relief but also engages in peace-building and advocacy work. He is Rohingya and has used humanitarian aid in parts of the country where Rohingya live to encourage cross ethnic partnerships.

Aung Kyaw Moe and his organization recently received a high honor, the Global Pluralism Award, which is conferred by the Global Centre for Pluralism, a joint partnership between The Aga Khan and the Government of Canada.

We kick of discussing diversity in Myanmar before having a longer conversation about how that how diversity has been used as a wedge to ignite conflict, and how  Aung Kyaw Moe is working to reverse that trend.

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