To the Embassy…and beyond

Greetings from Yangon; this morning I met with Ambassador Derek Mitchell and his staff for a briefing on my meetings with officials, business leaders and entrepreneurs from Mandalay and to discuss my initial impressions to date. In addition to Ambassador Mitchell, Cultural Affairs officer Sarah Quinzio, Senior Commercial Officer Jim Golsen and Political and Economic Affairs Officer James Shea and Mr. Tun Tun Khine were also in attendance.
Ambassador Mitchell was particularly interested in some of the similarities I have begun to recognize between Bozeman and Montana and Myanmar like our shared agricultural history, the rural character of our state and Myanmar, the need for improved infrastructure and the desire to add value to our raw materials prior to exportation and the importance of business to business connections between Montana an d Myanmar businesses. He encouraged me to follow-up with his staff on potential partnerships with the City of Bozeman and Montana State University. Ambassador Mitchell [and his staff] was especially appreciative of the huge bag of Bequet caramels (made in Montana) I offered as a small token of appreciation for their time.
I wish I had photographs of the meeting to share for this post but ALL electronic devices and do-dads were collected prior to entering the embassy grounds. Sarah did take one picture, ill post it as soon as she sends it along.
After we departed the embassy we had to quickly make arrangements for my visit to Nay Pyi Daw, the capital of Myanmar. The construction of this new city is very interesting. On 6 November 2005, the administrative capital of Myanmar was officially moved to a greenfield site 2.0 mi west of Pyinmana, and approximately 200 mi north of Yangon, the previous capital. The capital’s official name was announced on 27 March 2006, Myanmar Armed Forces Day. Some of this planned city is still under construction; it was set to be completed by around 2012. As of 1 October 2012, the population was 1,164,299, which makes it Burma’s third largest city, behind Yangon and Mandalay. The city is one of the world’s 10 fastest-growing cities. The 24th and 25th ASEAN Summit as well as the Ninth East Asia Summit were held in Nay Pyi Daw. It was also one of the host cities for the 2013 Southeast Asian Games.
The American Library in Yangon hosted my afternoon presentation and round table discussion with the YSEALI (Young South East Asian Leadership Institute) group regarding Bozeman’s importance to Montana’s economy and reflections on Tun Tun’s stay in Bozeman and Montana. I shared many of the gifts I collected for the trip: business cards, maps, pins, stickers, flags, magnets and stories. I was very proud to discuss how we facilitate Bozeman’s growing economy and surprised that I could draw so many parallels. The YSEALI attendees asked great questions and were so appreciative that I could be there to share our stories in an effort to inspire their young leaders. I was inspired just listening to their enthusiasm and optimism. It was a powerful experience for me personally.
I am scheduled for two presentations tomorrow in Nay Pyi Daw, one regarding Bozeman’s economic development strategy and the second is an English language lesson. Ms. Thanda, who represents the Ministry of Commerce and is my host in Nay Pyi Daw and has graciously arranged for over 100 participants in these presentations and lectures. I am also scheduled to tour the Gem Museum and the Myanmar Parliament. Ill check in later from Nay Pyi Daw. Cheers and thanks for following the posts. Brit
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