A Year of Democracy Building with Myanmar’s iPACE Alumni

The Institute for Political and Civic Engagement (iPACE) has been working in Myanmar for the past seven years to provide context-specific civic education training to groups including civil society organizations, political parties, labor unions, and youth groups. Running courses from the American Center Yangon, Jefferson Center Mandalay, as well as mobile trainings in every state and region across the country, iPACE has developed an alumni group that includes more than 3,000 democracy activists.

To formalize and strengthen their alumni network, the iPACE program team and trainers support alumni through a coordinated organizational development process so that they may create their own alumni network.

Through a series of workshops, iPACE alumni agreed on the mission, vision, and structure of their organization, which is called iPACE Alumni Myanmar (iAM). Using the skills and knowledge they learned in the iPACE classroom, the alumni organized an election for iAM Board of Directors to choose leaders to guide the group’s first year of activities. To organize these elections systematically, an iAM Board of Directors Election Commission was selected by alumni. The Election Commission went on to coordinate elections preparation in both Yangon and Mandalay, create an online voting platform, launch an informative communications campaign on Facebook, and support individual iAM candidates to successfully run their own campaigns.

As a culmination of these coordinated efforts, the first iAM Board of Directors election was held online November 22-24, 2019, and all iPACE alumni across Myanmar were eligible to participate. As a result, three candidates were elected from Yangon and another three from Mandalay.

The iPACE team congratulates these active alumni who took the skills and knowledge they learned in the iPACE classroom to initiate this important activity. iPACE looks forward to supporting the iAM Board of Directors and the wider iAM alumni network as it works to strengthen the broader civil society sector in Myanmar.