World Vision applauds diplomatic efforts between United States and Myanmar

WASHINGTON, 20 May 2013 -- Monday marks an historic moment in the relationship between the United States and Myanmar as President Obama welcomes Myanmar President U Thein Sein to the White House. It's the first time the President of Myanmar has visited the White House in nearly 50 years, and the visit symbolizes a continued warming of the social, political, and economic relationship between the two countries.

"World Vision is encouraged by the improved ties between the United States and Myanmar," said Chris Herink, World Vision's National Director in Myanmar.  "Myanmar remains one of the poorest countries in the world, and we welcome any international engagement which has the potential to positively impact the lives of the poor and vulnerable in the country."

With the election of a civilian government in 2010, Myanmar is a very different place than even just a few years ago, yet, in many ways, things remain the same for those most vulnerable in Myanmar. Investment in health and education remain low, though the Government has recently increased its spending in both sectors. Violence continues to plague parts of the country, and the most recent Human Development Index (UNDP) ranks Myanmar 149 out of 185 countries in the world. 

"Our hope for this meeting is that it would be one step forward in the journey toward a peaceful and prosperous society for everyone in Myanmar," added Herink.  "As a child-focused organization, we are committed to every child in Myanmar having the opportunity to enjoy good health and benefit from education opportunities."

World Vision would like to see continued investments in health and education in Myanmar, as well as more reforms aimed at protecting the most vulnerable children living in remote villages or conflict areas.  World Vision also applauds the Government's proactive and transparent response to recent disasters, including Cyclone Mahasen, and the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to serve the people of Myanmar.

World Vision began working in Myanmar in 1991 and remains one of the longest-serving humanitarian organizations in the country. The organization works in 11 of the 14 states and regions across a number of sectors, including health, education, agriculture, disaster risk reduction, and emergency response.