Swe Zaw Oo is originally from Kyaukme in Northern Shan State, but for the last 4 years has experienced a very different way of life whilst studynig at Green Mountain College in the USA. Based in Vermont, Green Mountain College is a liberal arts college with a focus on building economi, social and environmental sustainability.
Swe Zaw Oo completed a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Environmental Studies this June and we are delighted to report that she has already returned to Burma to put these newly earned skills to good use. Growing up in an area of Burma with a burgeoning factory industry, Swe Zaw Oo has experienced at first hand the environmental impact of industry upon the environment. As she wrote in her original application form to us:
“As a high school graduate I did not fully comprehend the business mechanism behind the development of industrial zones that were the cause of environmental degradation. I’ve been pessimistic about the self-destructive business strategies in Myanmar since then.”
Instead of becoming downhearted about the environmental damage she was witnessing around her, Swe Zaw Oo saw an opportunity to take positive steps in championing a better way of working for the future of Burma.
Over her 4 years at Green Mountain College Swe Zaw Oo has worked incredibly hard, and she graduated this year with flying colours. She was awarded the “excellence for mathematics” award as well as being made Valedictorian with the highest grade point average in her year. She now plans to put these impressive skills to good use in her home country.
Swe Zaw Oo said “My future plan to bring sustainability practices to the economics, businesses and environmental sectors of Myanmar hasn’t changed…I’ve decided to start employment in Myanmar in order to apply my knowledge to help build the country through works from private sector, and learn about areas of development in Myanmar through hands-on experiences for a minimum of two years, before getting the post-graduate degree.”
Swe Zaw Oo has started working at the General Electric company in Myanmar as a Global Commercial Leadership Program Manager Trainee. The two-year traineeship will help her to learn about renewable energy and development practices. She would like to return to University after this to complete a Master of Science in Sustainable Development, and then return once again to Myanmar to devote her time to developing sustainable business practices in industries there.