Eight students in the Human Rights Study Project at the University of Virginia School of Law put the books aside and spent two weeks in Myanmar, also known as Burma, over winter break to study the country’s nascent government in person.

Members of the student-run group, called Cowan Fellows, research human rights in the field to learn about issues facing a country or region. This year marked the group’s 16th annual trip.

The “longyi” is a traditional piece of Myanmar clothing that is commonly worn in the present day. Several law students selected fabric in the market place and had longyis made by local seamstresses.

“Our goal was to learn alongside the people of Myanmar as the country establishes rule of law in a newly founded civilian government,” Bonnie Cantwell ’19 said. “A highlight of the trip was our visit to the University of Dagon, where we met with Burmese law students.”

The students also met with local experts from the legal field and nongovernmental organizations on a variety of topics, including the peace process, federalism, social entrepreneurship, legal training and historic preservation.

A previous set of fellows journeyed to Myanmar in 2015, making it the only location the student-run group has visited twice.

A shrine in Shwedagon Pagoda. Myanmar is one of the most devout Buddhist countries in the world.

The Cowan Fellows will present their research and elaborate on their experiences April 11 at 11:30 a.m. in the Purcell Reading Room.

Photos by Bonnie Cantwell ’19 and Cecilia Dieuzeide LL.M. ’18

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