In the recent past, WOSM and the APR Office have been closely monitoring developments in Myanmar (former Burma), with the movement towards democracy. During a State Visit to Canberra, the President of Myanmar, His Excellency Mr Thein Sein, expressed to our Governor General and Chief Scout, the desire of his country to re-establish Scouting. The Asia Pacific Region was ready to assist in whatever way it could.
This led to a WOSM delegation visiting Myanmar 17-18 May 2013 at the invitation of the Myanmar Ministry of Education. The delegation was led by Dr Chao Show-Po, Chairman of the Asia Pacific Region. Reg Williams, Chief Commissioner, Scouts Australia and Neville Tomkins, International Commissioner, Scouts Australia were invited to join the Delegation.
Myanmar (previously known as Burma) had some 93,000 Scouts before the Movement was dissolved on 1 March 1964. Under the guidance of the President of the Union of Myanmar, Mr Thein Sein, school-based Scouting was re-introduced in November 2012. Today there are some 2,000 Scouts throughout Myanmar, with the potential for extraordinary growth in the future.
The visit of the WOSM Delegation was highly successful. The Delegation met with current and former Scouts, as well as with senior representatives of the Ministry of Education and the YMCA. Most of the former Scouts are now aged in their 60s, and are very keen to see Scouting re-introduced.
With these historic developments in Myanmar, there will only be 5 independent countries in the world without an active Scouting Movement – People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, Laos and Andorra. This is a very exciting prospect for World Scouting, and especially for APR Scouting!