CDNH Research Department’s mission is to produce various analyses and publications on the political and social situation in Myanmar and share them with key stakeholders. The information aims at being objective and credible and is based upon a robust research methodology. The final goal of the Research Department is to participate to the improvement of Myanmar’s social cohesion and to reduce social conflicts.
In order to meet the goals and missions of the Research Department, the department undertakes research projects in all seven states and seven regions of Myanmar on topics related to Political Processes and Social Harmony (1) as well as on thematic topics under the project name “Telescope” (2).
1. Political Processes and Social Harmony project.
At a time of immense political transition, there is a clear dearth of comprehensive information and accurate data regarding the public opinions of Myanmar’s diverse citizenry. In order to close this gap, CDNH’s research team has undertaken a two-fold, nationwide research project. Starting in October 2015, the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by March 2017, once every state and region has been surveyed. March 2017 will be the starting point of the Phase II that will see CDNH researchers update the information collected in the initial phase, and thus provide stakeholders with more dynamic and up-to-date information on every state and region.
Political Process research (PP)
Myanmar has been undergoing a sweeping transformation since the inauguration of a government in 2011 according to the new constitution passed in 2008. These transformations have been perceived differently in every regions of the country and their impacts, positive and/or negative need to be reported. Additionally, in a country where minority populations are widely dispersed and where infrastructural challenges still hamper the free flow of information, there is a great need to enhance awareness of local needs and aspirations. It is with the aim of increasing the availability of information and airing of opinions, in as transparent a manner as possible, that CDNH’s research has sought to assess ongoing state-building, nation-building and peace-building processes, as seen through the eyes of citizens.
Social Harmony research (SH)
One of the distinguishing features of Myanmar is its remarkable diversity. It is a country with more than a hundred ethnic groups associated with myriad of languages and cultural traditions. Buddhism and Hinduism are the oldest religions in the country, having arrived from Indian in the first millennium. However, both Islam and Christianity established enclaves and attracted considerable followings long before Myanmar’s birth as an independent country. Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, the territory of Myanmar has been a meeting point for various people inhabiting the larger region, and it is likely to continue serving as a cultural crossroads for centuries to come.
Taking cultural heterogeneity as the established reality, a crucial question arises: has Myanmar achieved the level of inter-cultural harmony and understanding required to sustain a stable, peaceful and thriving society?
CDNH’s Research Department has set out to answer this question through a comprehensive analysis of social interactions in each of Myanmar’s states and regions. Beyond simply evaluating the current levels of harmony and mutual acceptance across ethnic and religious groups, CDNH’s researchers has sought to understand the reasons behind those trends: if Myanmar has not achieved social harmony, why is this the case?
Focusing on one region of the country at a time, CDNH’s researchers have explored the specific nature of the relationships within and across cultural groups, shedding light on the complexities and fluidity of those relationships. Ultimately, CDNH hopes that this research will enable various stakeholders to reach a more nuanced understanding of the challenges in accommodating Myanmar’s extraordinary diversity toward attaining a more prosperous future.
2. Telescope project
Benefiting from numerous quantitative data as well as from an expertise in social and political science research, CDNH’s researchers have undertaken a range of thematic analyses across different topics. Organized upon axis of research, current researchers are working on:
- Gender issues in Myanmar
- Religions in Myanmar
- Peace Process
- Minorities in Myanmar
- Political ideas
With the objective of regular publications spread to relevant stakeholders, the Telescope project is also aiming at providing the Myanmar-focussed research community with accurate data and insightful analysis, and to overall contribute to the liveliness of political and social debates presently facing the country.
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For preliminary information on our field research and the way they have been undertaken, please check our ‘Letters from the field’.