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Norway Ambassador hosts NMFA scholarship recipients from Myanmar

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Bangkok--13 Dec--AIT

Ambassador of Norway to Thailand, H.E. Ms. Katja Christina Nordgaard hosted 42 students from Myanmar at a reception organized at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) on 3 December 2012. The students are recipients of the scholarship awarded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA), and are studying at AIT in various Master’s and Doctoral programs.

Addressing the students, the Ambassador described the event as a “great moment.” H.E. Ms. Nordgaard stated Norway is very pleased to support capacity building in Myanmar, and the international experience gained by students at AIT will contribute greatly towards this initiative.

Stating that Norway has always been very supportive of AIT for the past 35 years, the Ambassador said that “We continue to believe that AIT has a very important role to play.” AIT is renowned for its research, training, and outreach, and thousands of its graduates are in influential positions, she added. While expressing her sadness at recent developments which have affected AIT, the Ambassador was hopeful that a sustainable solution would be found soon.

Describing the challenges in Myanmar as enormous, the Ambassador stated that Norway is supportive of capacity building and sustainability of the reform process in the country. She remarked that higher education and research will help provide developmental needs of the country.

Welcoming the Ambassador, AIT President Prof. Said Irandoust expressed his gratitude to Norway for providing 120 scholarships spread over three years to students from Myanmar. He thanked Norway for its support, despite the fact that AIT was suffering lot of ‘political problems’. He expressed the hope that the problem will be resolved soon. Describing Norway as a great country, he stated that Norway has a history of openness and democracy, freedom, human rights, and justice for people. The AIT President also thanked Mr. Chatri Moonstan, Senior Programme Office (Development Cooperation), Royal Norwegian Embassy for his support to AIT.

A touching moment in the ceremony was the gesture of students from Myanmar of presenting a token of gratitude to the Ambassador in the form of a traditional handicraft souvenir from Myanmar.

A representative of the students, Ms. Seinn Seinn Mu, a doctoral from the Regional Rural Development Program (RRDP) at AIT’s School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) conveyed her gratitude on behalf of students from Myanmar, along with fellow students from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Lao PDR and Vietnam who are continuing students from the previous phase of Norway MFA-AIT cooperation.

She added that all students will return to their respective home countries and work in local organizations in a way that would eventually contribute to Norway’s mission of development in the region. “May you continue on improving the quality of lives of hundreds of millions of peoples from Asia and the Pacific Region,” she added. Earlier Mr. Ahmed Amjad Ali, Head, External Relations and Communications Office (ERCO), welcomed the Ambassador to AIT.

Details about the scholarship program are available at the Norwegian Embassy website at this link.
The event was also reported on the website at this link.
Photo caption: H.E. Ms. Katja Christina Nordgaard, left, Ambassador of Norway to Thailand, is seen having a conversation with a group of AIT students from Myanmar.

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