Received this press release today:

NEWS RELEASE

The media is also invited to attend “teach-ins” during the day; contact Douglas Irvin, 973/353-1260 for schedule

FOR FIRST TIME, SAFFRON REVOLUTION MONKS WILL SPEAK OUT ABOUT 2007 UPRISING IN BURMA/MYANMAR

Rutgers University in Newark Will Host Free Public Forum Oct. 29, 2008

(Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2008)  — The Saffron Revolution Monks of Burma/Myanmar will speak out Oct. 29 about their experiences during the peaceful popular uprising of 2007, and the brutal state crackdown, which left hundreds dead and many more jailed.  This is the first time the monks will discuss the uprising during a public forum, which will be held from 2:30 – 3:50 p.m., Oct. 29, in Hill Hall Room 101 at Rutgers University, 360 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark.  The monks will answer questions from the audience during this free public forum, which is sponsored by the Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights (CGHR). 

In September of last year, hundreds of thousands of clergy and civilians marched in non-violent protests in cities and towns across the nation after the ruling junta failed to comply with four specific demands issued by the All Burma Monk Alliance. The violent response to the peaceful, pro-democracy uprisings in Burma swept through the news, brining the brutalities of the ruling military junta to the attention of many around the world for the first time two decades.

CGHR professors and regional experts also will be holding teach-ins throughout the day with the Monks. These teach-ins are open to members of the Rutgers community and the media. Please contact CGHR Director of Outreach Douglas Irvin at 917/543-1462 (mobile) for further event information.

Biographical information of Burmese participants:

U Gaw Si Ta began his Buddhist training as a young novice at the age of 9. Ten years later, in 1999, he became a monk. He is currently a teacher Buddha’s philosophy and knowledge, has worked extensively on humanitarian service in Burma/Myanmar serving the poor and helping HIV/AIDS patients to gain access to anti retro-viral medicines.

U Gaw Si Ta played a significant role in organizing the peaceful revolt, feeling that he had a moral obligation to stand up for the poor to help preserve their morality and dignity as well as alleviate their suffering. On September 18, he initiated and organized the nation’s monks to implement demonstrations along side students and opposition party activists.

Hiding in a remote village from the government’s military forces who sought his arrest, U Gaw Si Ta escaped in disguise into Thailand, where he was held by Thai authorities before being allowed to enter the United States as a political refugee.

Dr. Yee Yee Htwe has dedicated her life to humanitarian works, public education and trainings, as well as public speaking. She is a license of medical practitioner, Dr. Yee Yee Htwe graduated from the University of Medicine, Mandalay in 1984, studying Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and child health. She has written extensively on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Burma.

After studying medicine, she went on to earn an MBA as well as degrees in Business Law, and Applied Psychology from the University of Yangon. She has most recently attended the National University of Singapore and Harvard University, studying Public Management.

U Pyin Nyar Thiri started his career in the monkhood at the age of 12, as a novice. At the age of 20, he became a full monk. As part of his Buddhist studies and monastic duties, he participated in the Saffron Rebellion because he felt that the military ruler’s violent persecution of monks and brutal control over the populations was immoral.

He witnessed the murder of civilians and monks during the government’s violent response to the peaceful protests. Sought by the military government, U Pyin Nyar Thiri went into hiding and was able to escape with a secret donation from the wife of a Burmese military captain who was sympathetic to his cause. With her gift, he was able to fund his escape to the Thai boarder and eventually to the United States, where he has campaigned effortlessly to raise international awareness of the political and social situation in his homeland.

Information on the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights is available at http://cghr.newark.rutgers.edu/

For more information on the event, please contact CGHR Director of Outreach, Douglas Irvin, at 973/353-1260 (office) 917/543-1462 (mobile) or email: dougirvi@andromeda.rutgers.edu

The Hill Hall is wheelchair-accessible, as is the Rutgers-Newark campus. Rutgers Newark can be reached by New Jersey Transit buses and trains, the PATH train and Amtrak from New York City, and by Newark Light Rail. Metered parking is available on University Avenue and at Rutgers Newark’s public parking garage, at 200 University Ave.  Printable campus maps and driving directions are available online at: http://www.newark.rutgers.edu/maps/index.php

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